MINEOLA, NY – Greek-American Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced on April 3 the creation of a coronavirus scam hotline. The news release follows:
As communities across New York battle the coronavirus epidemic, the Nassau County District Attorney’s office (NCDA) has received reports of new identity theft scams and opportunistic schemes peddling fake tests and bogus cures for COVID-19. District Attorney Singas established the hotline for Nassau residents to report suspected scams to the District Attorney’s Financial Crimes Bureau for investigation.
The Nassau County District Attorney Coronavirus Scam Hotline is 516-571-3505. Reports can also be emailed to email@example.com. All calls and emails will remain confidential to the extent allowed by law.
“With many people stuck at home and using the internet and social media more frequently, scammers are cashing in by trying to steal money, personal information, or to sell bogus medications,” DA Singas said. “We urge anyone who believes they have been a victim of a scam to contact our hotline for assistance.”
DA Singas said many of the scammers are rebranding old scams to take advantage of the current climate selling counterfeit merchandise including medicine, fake test kits and vaccines, masks, sanitizers, and cleaning products. Cleaning supplies, protective equipment and medications should be purchased only from a reputable retailer and medications should be taken in accordance with directions from a medical professional.
Other scams include:
Online order scams. Beware of anyone posing as an online merchant offering hard-to-get goods such as sanitizer, masks and toilet paper who take personal and financial information. These pop-up sites frequently steal financial information and either deliver no product or counterfeit and potentially dangerous goods. Tip: Google any web site with which you are unfamiliar and check online reviews. Pay by credit card so you can dispute a fraudulent purchase. Do not use a debit card or other online money delivery service.
Fake health insurance and mortgage relief. Tip: Only deal with reputable companies and financial advisors.
Fake emails, texts, phone calls. Federal and state agencies are not sending out emails or texts or making phone calls to individuals in public regarding any cash payments. If you need to contact a federal agency, look up the phone number on the agency’s official web site.
Tip: Do not respond to these communications by clicking on any links, responding to any questions, or providing any personal information. If you do so, a hacker may try to hijack your computer, steal data, or install malware. They can also freeze your computer and change your password and demand ransom to unlock it.
Charity Scams. Many scammers are preying on the goodwill of people during the crisis by creating false charities.
Tip: Check charitiesnys.com to ensure you are donating to a legitimate registered charity.
Finally, The NCDA urges the public to follow the advice of healthcare professionals and medical experts such as the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, NYS Department of Health and the Nassau County Department of Health.