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DIGGING DEEPER: Coronavirus scam warnings

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TUCSON - Scammers come out of the woodwork during difficult times and now, they are trying to take your money during the coronavirus pandemic.

News 4 Tucson spoke with residents in downtown Tucson who called it “shameful.”

It’s really sad because so many people have so much fear," said Margaret Merendo, a Tucson resident. "With this included now, it’s even worse."

The Food and Drug Administration has issued an alert about unauthorized, fraudulent test kits that are being marketed to test for COVID-19 in the home.

The FDA and the Federal Trade Commission have issued warning letters to seven sellers of unapproved and misbranded products, claiming they can treat or prevent the Coronavirus. The products include teas and oils.

“Scammers are everywhere, willing to take advantage of any calamity as it happens,” said Sean Herdrick, spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona.

Fortunately, Herdrick said, the BBB has not received any complaints about Coronavirus scammers locally, however, there is a big scam going on nationally.

“People are out there, especially with this stimulus package that’s coming out," said Herdrick. "There’s been a lot of scams that are sending text messages and emails to people telling them they need to send money to receive their stimulus, which is very, very, unfortunate.”

It is advised that you should not respond to texts and emails about the government stimulus checks.

Since the details regarding the stimulus package are still being worked out, anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer.

Here are some tips to avoid being tricked into a scam.

  • You should be aware of who you are buying from when purchasing products online.
  • If you haven’t heard of the business, you’re taking your chances so it's more safe to make purchases from a reputable, well-known company.
  • Fact check all information any caller provides, as Herdrick of the BBB advises: “Verify, verify, verify.”

Furthermore, you can report scams on the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker website.

You can also learn about scams that have previously been reported on the website as well. Many recently reported scams have to do with the coronavirus.

If you have a story you would like New 4 Tucson to investigate, email us at Investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

Matthew Schwartz

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