Fraud and Scams
6 May 2020
Here in Montgomery County, we’re doing everything we can to protect our community from the effects of COVID-19. In the wake of the communal and economic upheaval, we’ve been working to keep our citizens up to date on all relief programs, announcements and other changes.
Another threat has increased in the wake of COVID-19: Fraud and scams.
It’s unfortunate that people have taken advantage of the situation in this way. But the best defense against falling victim to these scams and fraud is to be informed and aware.
These scams are designed to obtain personal information – social security numbers, credit/debit card numbers, and important financial information.
What do these scams look like?
- Impersonating COVID-19 testing centers (and collecting money to administer fake tests).
- Selling ineffective hand sanitizers.
- Selling unproven treatments to those worried about the virus.
- Peddling inaccurate or unfounded diagnostic tests to the community.
That’s right – people are standing in line (or waiting in their car) for hours and paying upwards of $100 per test, only to find out the testing station was fake, and the test administrators have left town with their hard-earned money and social security numbers. During this upheaval, it is important to verify sources and keep your personal and security information protected.
Another potentially dangerous scam are websites that claim to offer financial assistance or relief. It’s important to be very careful about your social security number and financial information. Make sure to verify that the financial institution with whom you are filing your paperwork is the website of that institution, instead of a fake or uncredited loans/financial institution that just aims to piggyback off of your accredited institution’s customer base.
There are other, harder to spot scams on the Internet as well: false information, false claims of treatment, and false advertising for medicine or treatments that claim to protect against the spread of the virus. Videos have been circulating where people claim their treatment, or their program, or their information cures the Coronavirus. The only FDA-approved course of treatment and prevention for COVID-19, so far, is a vaccination that has not yet been developed. Medical professionals and researchers are working diligently to unroll a vaccine for the virus.
It’s important to stay informed and follow news from sources that are well-known and that you trust. We’re one of those sources. Please check our County website (link to www.mcohio.org) regularly to stay informed on important updates.
Montgomery County community members work hard for their money, and your county officials are doing our best to protect our citizens – and their wallets – from falling victim to those that are taking advantage of the pandemic.