Sheriff’s Department: watch for Coronavirus scams

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There are unscrupulous persons out there who are taking advantage of the national Coronavirus situation. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is advising the public to prepare and protect yourself and your family, but don’t panic.

At this time, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is not aware of any local cases. It is, however, monitoring COVID-19 and making sure the public is aware of these scams.

Do not click on phishing emails, links, or attachments you don’t recognize; hackers maybe be able to access your personal information if you click, open, or log in to a fake page. You may receive emails from fraudulent accounts impersonating official websites or doctors. For example, an email will come from @CDC-GOV.ORG vs. the official email sender of @CDC.GOV. Make sure you hover over the link to verify the URL & domain name (Uniform Resource Locator).

Ignore fraudulent online offers claiming they are selling COVID-19 knockoff products, cures, or treatments. At this time, per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is no vaccine for coronavirus. There are scammers claiming they are selling the “N95” respirator face masks vs. regular surgical masks, or hand sanitizer that is 60% alcohol. Please purchase from businesses you trust.

Be aware of fraudulent fundraising campaigns or donation requests for cash, gift cards, and credit cards. There are scammers seeking contributions via emails or going door to door. At this time, CDC is not sending persons door to door for cash or soliciting donations through bitcoin or PayPal.

Price gouging. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has issued a price gouging alert due to the State of Emergency.

To get information, resources, and updates from official departments, please visit CDC.gov or cdph.ca.gov. For local Los Angeles County information please visit the local webpage at publichealth.lacounty.gov/.

If you believe you have been scammed, contact your bank and/or credit card company immediately and report it to your local law enforcement. If you think there is a situation where a business may be charging excessively, please file a complaint through the website at www.oag.ca.gov/ or call 800-952-5225.