A global pandemic doesn’t stop scammers from trying to take advantage of a bad situation and rip people off.
However, Huntingdon Borough Police Chief Jeff Buckley wants to make sure people can do the best they can possibly to do protect themselves at anytime.
If someone receives an email from a person claiming to need help because they’re sick, Buckley said it’s best to check the email before responding, and don’t respond at all if it’s a potential scammer.
“Don’t respond to texts, calls or emails that you’re not sure where they’re coming from,” he said, noting one he’s seen recently is people reaching out by email or phone calls claiming they’re from the government and the status of their stimulus checks.
“I’ve also seen online offers about vaccinations (for COVID-19) as well as test kits,” said Buckley.
If you get a robocall, hang up on it,” he said. “I know some people may stay on the line, but that subjects them to the potential for being scammed.”
As far as making donations, Buckley said it’s important to do research before giving to any organization.
“I know people want to be giving, especially right now, but do your homework before you donate,” he said. “Don’t donate in cash or by wiring money somewhere, either.”
Buckley also offered a resource for those who want to be aware of any scams related to COVID-19.
“I know our state attorney general’s office does a good job,” he said. “There’s a scam line you can call if you were a victim or know of a scam. I also know they have consumers sign up for text and scam alerts, so they can tell you what the latest scam is out there.
“You can use their site to get tips to protect yourself,” Buckley added.
While Buckley said there have been a few reports of scams since the pandemic became part of everyday life, he hasn’t seen a substantial increase.
But, these are times where scammers prey on the vulnerable.
“They play on people’s fears,” said Buckley. “People are more vulnerable right now. People in that line of work know that, and they have no real conscience, so they take advantage of anyone if there’s a reason they will benefit from it.”
To report any potential scams to the state Attorney General’s office, contact them at 1-800-441-2555. People can get alerts to scams by signing up at www.attorneygeneral.gov/consumer-alerts/.