Avoiding COVID-19 Scams and Price Gouging
Be aware of the sources of information you’re viewing. The government (the
United States or your state) and reputable medical sources (e.g.,
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC),
World Health Organization (WHO),
Johns Hopkins University)
are the best places to look for reliable, accurate information about the virus and
any questions you may have about it and what’s being done. Social media sites
and Wikipedia are not, as anyone with a computer can place information on those
The Federal Trade Commission has a
website with valuable information and links to
additional sources - some of which is summarized below.
What You Can Do
Below are tips and suggestions for scams to watch out for.
Robocalls – do not respond to them, press any buttons, or provide
any information. Hang up.
Emails and texts –
Be very wary of any messages about checks from the government.
The stimulus payments, officially known as Economic Impact Payments, can be requested through the
Read more about scams
to watch out for:
Beware of emails claiming to offer medical information. To ensure you’re getting
accurate information, go to the online source yourself rather than clicking a link
in an email. Double-check any information yourself before you rely on it for any
decision you’ll be making or pass it on to others as factual.
Other sources – don’t click on links to websites or sources
you don’t recognize or know. You could allow a virus to enter your device.
Instead, search for the website or information yourself.
Vaccinations, tests, or treatments – as of April 2020, there is no COVID-19
specific treatment or vaccine. Anyone claiming otherwise is not being truthful.
Direct specific questions about your personal health to your doctor, and seek general
information about COVID-19 from reputable sources like the Food and Drug Administration
This occurs when sellers charge high prices for in-demand goods in a crisis, like
$10 for a package of toilet paper, to take unfair advantage of the high demand.
Many localities and states have specific laws prohibiting price gouging, like San
and the State of Texas.
A comprehensive list of states’ price-gouging laws can be found
Many states’ attorneys general receive complaints about price gouging from
citizens’ first-hand experiences, like Michigan
which also allow telephonic and online reporting of price gouging. The complete
list of state attorney general websites for making these complaints is:
Research any charity to which you’re considering donating money.