Jack Jordan state RepDuring this public health emergency, scammers are preying on virus-related fears to obtain personal or banking information from victims.

Fraudsters are offering work-at-home schemes, student loan repayment plans and debt consolidation offers. Small businesses are also being targeted with calls about funding or loans and online listing verifications. There are reports of hoax text messages and scam robocalls offering free home testing kits, promoting fake cures, and selling low-priced health insurance.

Federal stimulus checks have brought out scam calls, texts and emails about verifying personal or bank account information so the bank may release funds. It’s important to understand no one from the government would ever call or text for that information.

To protect yourself and loved ones from potential scams, be mindful of these tips provided by the Federal Communications Commission:
• Do not answer calls or texts from unknown numbers;
• Never share personal or financial information via email, text message or over the phone;
• Be cautious if you’re being pressured to share any information or make a payment immediately. Hang up and call the utility company directly to verify it is one of their representatives;
• Scammers often spoof phone numbers to trick you into answering or responding;
• Do not click any links in a text message. If a friend sends a text with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call them to make sure they were not hacked; and
• Always research a charity (for example, by calling or looking at its actual website) before donating. Click here to learn more about charity scams.

Hoosiers who believe they have been a victim of a coronavirus scam should contact law enforcement immediately. They may also file a complaint with the Indiana Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by going online and clicking “File a Complaint.”