submitted by Michael D. Bannon, Director, Bucks County Consumer Protection / Weights & Measures
Bucks County Consumer Protection wants area residents to be aware that scams and misinformation related to the coronavirus pandemic unfortunately continue to spread.
Consumer Protection has received calls from area residents stating they received calls claiming to be from Medicare and Medicaid.
The scam artists making these calls claim they need to verify the consumer’s information to qualify them for coronavirus testing.
These scam artists are asking for a name, date of birth, social security number, and even a credit card number to pay for the test.
This is a phishing attempt to steal consumer’s personal and financial information.
This scam can lead to not only identity theft but also fraudulent use of a consumer’s credit card as well.
Never provide any personal information over the phone, especially when requested on a call you did not initiate to a trusted phone number. Scammers are also using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from scam Coronavirus treatments to work-at-home schemes.
These recordings might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might just lead to more robocalls, so don’t press any numbers, just hang up.
There is a lot of misinformation spreading online so Consumer Protection would also like to remind everyone to only trust information from reliable official sources such as the CDC, WHO, Pennsylvania State agencies, Bucks County Government, and your local township or borough.
Another prevalent scam is fake online stores.
Many products such as facemasks, hand sanitizer and antibacterial soaps are in high demand and difficult to locate in stock through many of the major retailers, in store or online.
This has created an opening for scam artists to create fake business websites listing these products to drive web traffic to their fake site. Many consumers are searching on Google for these high demand items, which under the shopping tab consumers may see some of these unknown companies.
While not all are scams, many of these are scam companies, which have no intention of fulfilling orders for any of these products.
Instead these scam companies will steal consumer’s credit card information.
If you’ve never heard of the company, it’s best to do a little research before making a purchase.
Check out the seller by searching online for the company’s name, phone number and e-mail address, plus words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.”
If everything checks out, pay by credit card and keep a record of your transaction.
Bucks County Consumer Protection will continue to alert residents of emerging scams affecting our community.
Consumers who would like to report a scam to Consumer Protection can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-942-2669.
We can all do our part to help bring this pandemic to an end.
Practice social distancing, stay home, and wash your hands!