SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Attorney General Chris Carr issued a joint press release Wednesday warning Georgians of a spike in scams related to coronavirus.
Scammers are known to take advantage of people during times of stress. This time, Georgia leaders say scammers are taking advantage of panic surrounding the fear of a potential pandemic.
“The Coronavirus Task Force is working around the clock to prepare for any scenario that might arise,” said Governor Brian Kemp in a press release. “It’s a shame, but all too often, con artists will use headlines to prey on the fears of consumers and trick them. “
According to Shawn Conroy — a representative for Attorney General Carr’s office — in the past few days, there have been six reports in Georgia of coronaviris related scams. Most people reported instances of price gouging.
“They are taking advantage of people’s fears about contracting this virus to try to con them out of their money,” said Attorney General Carr.
Conroy says the attorney general’s office is taking these offenses seriously. Fines can range from $2,000 to $10,000.
“We know that con artists are on the lookout for any opportunity …to take money out of the pockets of consumers,” said Conroy to News 3. “We’re trying to get the word out about these scams and be proactive so that when people receive an email they weren’t expecting or a phone call soliciting money for a charity, they’ll think twice.”
The governor suggests the following to avoid a scam:
- Do not click on links from sources you do not know
- Check the source of your information and rely only on reputable sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization or the Georgia Department of Public Health
- Ignore offers for alleged vaccinations or treatments
- Research donation solicitations and charities for coronavirus victims
- Do not give people cash donations, do not wire money and do not give money through gift cards
- Be alert to “investment opportunities”
- Compare prices so that scammers do not overcharge for health-related products
If you notice a scam, immediately report it to the attorney general’s office. You can call (404) 651-8600 or email them directly.