SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr says the pandemic has certainly brought out the worst when it comes to scammers trying to take advantage of consumers.
“It’s unbelievable, here we have a global health pandemic, we’ve had an economic crisis, folks are hurting but yet criminals try to find a way to take advantage of it and they’re doing that now with vaccines,” said Carr who was in Savannah on Thursday.
Carr says scammers have had a payday and that dozens of new scams started last year as the pandemic was taking hold. He says there were scams through emails, calls and text messages on topics such as helping people get a Covid test for a fee. (The tests are free.)
He says now the scams have moved to the topic of vaccines, trying to get people to pay for an appointment or to pay for a prize if they do a survey on their vaccine experience. But they’re told they must pay for the shipping of the prize which allows the crook to steal their credit or debit card information.
“Vaccines are free in the state of Georgia so your viewers should not pay and should not feel compelled to pay or be pressured to pay,” says Carrs. “Look, criminals are always trying to stay ahead of the game and their whole goal is to separate you from your money or your personal information.”
He says scams are nothing new and unfortunately, schemes always increase during some type of disaster.
“Criminals want to take advantage of folks when they’re at a heightened emotional state,” said Carr.
Carr says his office is going after those who are trying to take advantage, especially now. He doesn’t expect COVID scams to stop.
“My message is that you’re always in charge of the transaction,” said Carr. “If you get an email or a phone call or a text or somebody comes to the door offering something and you weren’t expecting it stop, close the door, hang up the phone, click out of the email. You’re in charge of the transaction, don’t be taken advantage of.”