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Officials Warn Wyoming Residents to Beware of Coronavirus Scams


Monday, April 13, 2020   

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Criminals are finding new ways to separate Wyoming residents from their money, and are using federal coronavirus stimulus checks as bait.

Mark Klaassen, U.S. attorney for the District of Wyoming, says scammers seize on times of crisis, when people are afraid and looking for hope and solutions.

He says criminals currently are deploying the same old imposter and fishing scams to get money or sensitive personal information, in new COVID-19 packaging.

"Phony or fake treatments or cures, or tests for the coronavirus," he states. "Maybe offers of personal protective equipment where they seek payment and never provide anything of any value."

Klaassen says scammers might also offer to speed up delivery of federal stimulus checks, but he emphasizes that legitimate government officials will not require any payment to get checks, and will not call to ask for Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers.

To report scams, contact the AARP Fraud Watch Helpline toll free at 877-908-3360, and you don't have to be a member to report an incident.

Scammers continue to find success using robocalls, and Klaassen says you should not assume that an incoming call is an official from a company or the government. He says the best way to make sure you're talking to someone legitimate is to initiate the call yourself.

"In particular for seniors, they should be wary of those who may contact them and be asking about their Medicare number," Klaassen stresses. "Those are situations where those individuals can then use that information to perpetrate a fraud against the Medicare system."

Criminals also use email, texts, social media and websites to sell fake treatments and other bogus products, and have convinced people to donate money to fake victims' charities.

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