Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford is warning the public to be wary of scammers preying on the fears surrounding the coronavirus outbreak to exploit consumers.
The attorney general’s office has already seen problems arising from email phishing scams, online misinformation campaigns, price gouging on medical supplies, and even people trying to sell fake cures for COVID-19, for which no cure or vaccine has been developed, Ford said in a call with members of the press on March 11.
“If there were a medical breakthrough, it would not be advertised for the first time through a sales pitch,” Ford said.
Ford said his office is reviewing several complaints relating to consumer fraud related to COVID-19. Specifically, there are reports of “coordinated increases in prices for goods or services.”
“It’s my and my office’s view that these people who are inflating these prices are becoming a public nuisance,” Ford said.
There are also issues with people advertising those products, things like medical masks, gloves and disinfectants, online and demanding up-front payment or initial deposits, then not delivering the products, Ford said.
“Every Nevadan is encouraged to do their research before purchasing supplies and to buy, again, from only legitimate and from reputable stores and sources,” Ford said.
The attorney general’s office has also been in contact with Facebook, eBay and other websites in hopes of stamping out misinformation that is spreading online, Ford said.
Ford encouraged anyone who feels like they have been the victim of one of these scams, or have witnessed suspicious activities, to file a complaint with the attorney general’s office ag.nv.gov or at any of the agency’s offfices. The office also has two hot lines people can call: 702-486-3132 or 888-434-9989.