Napa DA warns of coronavirus-related fraud

Napa DA warns of coronavirus-related fraud

From the Complete coronavirus coverage from the Napa Valley Register, St. Helena Star, and The Weekly Calistogan series
Allison Haley

Napa County District Attorney Allison Haley urges the public to be aware of coronavirus-related fraud.

While the FDA says there are no approved vaccines, drugs or other products currently available to treat or prevent coronavirus, several companies have advertised dietary supplements, teas, essential oils, and colloidal silver to treat or cure the virus.

The FDA and FTC recently issued warning letters to seven companies that were advertising and selling such products. For more information: https://bit.ly/3dhdiD0

Also, the federal and state governments are working on stimulus packages to cushion the economic impact from the coronavirus, including possibly sending checks directly to individuals.

Regardless of the form the relief takes, please remember that: (1) the government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get this money, (2) the government will not call to ask for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number, and (3) the government has not finalized any payment plan yet and anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is illegitimate, the District Attorney’s Office said.

Be wary of emails claiming to be from the CDC, the WHO, or other similar public health agencies. It is unlikely that these organizations will email you directly with updates. And they certainly will not ask you for your personal information, such as your Social Security number, bank account numbers, or logins and passwords.

The best place to find up-to-date information from these organizations is on their websites such as CDC: https://bit.ly/2WxW4vw

During a crisis, people often want to help out by donating to a charity. However, crises also bring out fake charity schemes. The FTC has advice on how to research your chosen charity to make sure it is a legitimate organization. Go to: https://bit.ly/2wsLuuO

Helpful information on Coronavirus and other consumer scams can be found on the FTC’s website at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/ and the California Attorney General’s website at https://oag.ca.gov/consumers.

Anyone who has been the victim of fraud, or who has information regarding fraudulent activity, is encouraged to immediately file a complaint with the District Attorney’s Office by going to our website (https://www.countyofnapa.org/578/ConsumerEnvironmental-ProtectionUnit) or by calling 707-253-4059.

Editor’s note: Because of the health implications of the COVID-19 virus, this article is being made available free to all online readers. If you’d like to join us in supporting the mission of local journalism, please visit napavalleyregister.com/members/join/.

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