New York attorney general warns
North Country about coronavirus scams
WATERTOWN – In response to recent reports about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) scams targeting members of the Fort Drum community, Attorney General Letitia James issued the following warning and reminder to New Yorkers about remaining vigilant:
“It is imperative that all New Yorkers are mindful about their health, but also vigilant about potential scams related to this pandemic. In times of anxiety and uncertainty, we often see predatory actors try to take advantage of people's fears to line their own pockets, and this outbreak is no different.
“Last year, I had the honor of visiting our service members at Fort Drum and was inspired by their tenacity and perseverance. It is disheartening that they are being targeted by scammers now.
“The federal government will never call you seeking information about your bank account or other financial matters, and you should never provide that information over the phone. I encourage anyone who believes they are the victim of a scam or predatory action to contact my office and file a complaint.”
There have been recent reports of scammers calling members of the Fort Drum community and claiming to be representatives from the federal government reaching out to provide federal relief funds. These scammers claim that in order to provide individuals with the funds from the government, they must obtain the individual’s bank account information to deposit the money.
The Office of Attorney General (OAG) continues to warn New Yorkers that scammers commonly exploit real public health concerns and use heightened public fear to prey on consumers and profit from frauds related to those health fears.
In an effort to support New Yorkers in the fight against the coronavirus and crackdown on these scams, the attorney general has sent multiple cease and desist letters to individuals and companies selling and marketing certain products as treatments or cures for the coronavirus, including Alex Jones, Wayne Allyn Root, The Silver Edge company, Dr. Sherill Sellman, and televangelist Jim Bakker.
Additionally, James has issued cease and desist notifications to hundreds of businesses in New York for charging excessive prices for hand sanitizers, disinfectant sprays, and rubbing alcohol — a violation of New York’s price gouging statute. That statute prohibits the sale of goods and services necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of consumers at unconscionably excessive prices during any abnormal disruption of the market.
The OAG continues to surveil and monitor businesses across the state for potential scams and price gouging schemes designed to exploit public concern related to the spread of the coronavirus. If consumers believe they have been victims of a scam or have witnessed potential price gouging, they can report these incidents to the OAG at https://ag.ny.gov/coronavirus.
(Office of Attorney General)