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COVID-19 scams becoming more prevalent

Scammers claiming to represent charities can be fakes

Scammers are preying on fears about the COVID-19 crisis by claiming to represent fake charities. Do not give them any information.
Special to the Daily

Dirtbags skulk among us. The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold say scammers claiming to represent charities are more prevalent with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scammers will try to gain access to your personal accounts, often demanding money that they say will be used to avoid legal action. The scammers will give you names of court staffers, senior members of local law enforcement teams, probation officers and even sex offender registrars.

They’ll threaten you with arrest and demand money for removing arrest warrants for failure to appear in court.

“This is simply NOT how we do business,” the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office said in issuing the warning.

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Scammers have technology that makes it appear they’re calling from a local phone number, a local business or even a law enforcement agency. Hang-up, call the agency they claim to be from, and ask for the person who said they were calling you.

Keep giving, but be careful

Give to people who need it, but do not give in to scammers, Griswold said.

“The COVID-19 public health crisis is tremendously impacting all of Colorado,” Griswold said. “Unfortunately, in times of crisis like this, we’ve seen scams looking to exploit Coloradans’ generosity.  I encourage Coloradans to continue to give to those in need, but do so wisely by making sure their donations are going to the right place.”

The Secretary of State’s tips include:

  • Confirm the organization is registered and current at checkthecharity.com.
  • Ask if the caller is a paid solicitor. If so, ask for their name and the name of their company. The paid solicitor’s registration number, which can be verified here, and the percent of your donation that will go to charity. If they refuse to give you any of this information, do not give to that charity.
  • Watch out for charities with names that sound similar to well-known, reputable organizations.
  • Do not assume that charity recommendations on Facebook, blogs or other social media have already been vetted.
  • Do not pay in cash. Donate by check made payable to the charity or use the charity’s website to donate by credit card.
  • For the most current and common scams that include ‘Coronavirus Scams’ please visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information website:https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts

To report internet crimes and fraud go to: https://www.ic3.gov.

Among the scams:

  • Bank Deposit Seizures:  They’re lying when they tell they claim that consumer-insured bank deposits can be legally seized by banks. They cannot. In the unlikely event of a bank failure, customers’ insured deposits would be fully protected up to the $250,000 limit.
  • Fake Calls from the Feds:  Scam callers pose as federal employees and ask for things like your social security number.  Federal agencies don’t make unsolicited phone calls.
  • Student Loans:  Scam callers claim that COVID-19 will have an impact on your student loans, urging you to contact a specific number or visit a website to determine your new payment. If you have questions about your loan, contact your financial institution.
  • Investment scams:  Scammers may call about investing in products or services of publicly traded companies that claim to prevent, detect or cure COVID-19.

Health care Scams

  • Fake Test Kits:  COVID-19 test kits are not for sale. Anyone who says otherwise is a scam.
  • Threats to Treat Coronavirus:  Scammers pose as healthcare providers claiming they are treating a relative for COVID-19 and demanding immediate payment for treatment or threaten legal action.

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