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Coronavirus Scams and Price Gouging

Scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal money, personal information, or both. It is crucial to protect yourself and do your research before clicking on links purporting to provide information on the virus; donating to a charity online or through social media; contributing to a crowdfunding campaign; misinformation about your stimulus check; purchasing products online; or giving up your personal information in order to receive money or other benefits. 

Consumer Fraud and Scams

  • Texans should also be aware of cyber scams. Texans who believe they have encountered disaster scams should call the Office of the Attorney General’s toll-free complaint line at (800) 621-0508 or file a complaint online. For additional information on disaster scams, please visit the AG's disaster scams website.                                                                                                                                                                 
  • For information on what the Federal Trade Commission is doing regarding coronavirus scams, read more here.                                                                                                  
  • Lone Star Legal Aid has created this consumer FAQ on price gouging, door-to-door scams, and more here.                                                                                                     

  • Texas RioGrande Legal Aid has created this FAQ entitled Say No to Coronavirus (COVID-19) Scams and Price Gouging!                                                                                              

  • The Better Business Bureau has COVID-19 tips and resources here.                 

    • The BBB Education Foundation/Texas Senior Medicare Patrol  is working hard to ensure that the community is safe from scam attempts. They have started a “Scam of the Week” video series on YouTube.                                                                                                                                                                                                    

  • The World Health Organization has shed light on COVID-19 related misinformation. Read here for more.                                                                                                                                                                              

  • The Supreme Court Texas is aware of scam callers falsely claiming the Supreme Court of Texas has issued an arrest warrant and attempting to obtain personal and financial information from the call recipient. The Supreme Court of Texas does not issue arrest warrants. Do not give any personal information, such as social security or banking numbers, over the phone with anyone claiming to be from the Crime Victim Services Division. You may report these calls to the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division by calling toll free 1-800-621-0508.                                                                                                                         

  • The U.S. Department of Justice has information on combatting fraud here.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

  • Legal Aid of Northwest Texas has published this Q&A video on COVID-19 consumer fraud issues. 

 

 

Price Gouging

Currently, the disaster declaration prompted by several discovered cases of coronavirus in Texas is effective across the entire state. Price gouging is illegal, and a disaster declaration triggers tough penalties under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA). Price-gougers may be required to reimburse consumers and may be held liable for civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation with an additional penalty of up to $250,000 if the affected consumers are elderly.  

Texans who believe they have encountered price gouging should call the Office of the Attorney General’s toll-free complaint line at (800) 621-0508 or file a complaint onlineMore information on identifying and reporting price-gouging can be found here.

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid has created this FAQ entitled Say No to Coronavirus (COVID-19) Scams and Price Gouging!   

Loan Modification Scams

Be aware that there are scams posing as aid programs, government programs, class action law suits, and more. Some people might try to take advantage of you in your time of need. Falling for a scam can put you in debt and even cause you to lose your home. HUD and its partners have put together these anti-scam resources here. This information can help you see scams coming as well as tell you what to do if you are the victim of a scam.

Know it. Avoid it. Report it.