BRAINTREE — Mayor Charles C. Kokoros and Police Chief Mark Dubois would like to remind residents to be vigilant of potential scams around COVID-19, like requesting donations or selling products claiming to cure, prevent or detect the virus.
Residents should be mindful of phone calls from people claiming to have resources or portraying themselves as being from a charitable organization seeking donations.
Additionally, with stimulus checks being mailed out to residents, people should be aware to avoid fake websites with misleading or incorrect information. To check the status of your Economic Impact Payment visit the IRS website here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment.
Residents expecting the economic impact payments from the the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue System (IRS) should be aware that these payments will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people.
Anyone asking for you to sign over your economic impact payment for more funds, requests by phone, email, text or social media for personal information to process checks or any checks with phrases like “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment” are scams.
Residents should not partake in any COVID-19 testing from door-to-door solicitors, people who approach them at grocery stores/pharmacies, or solicitors who call requesting financial information in return for a test or to mail COVID-19 test offerings.
Mayor Kokoros and Chief Dubois warn that residents should NEVER give personal information, medicare numbers, money or home access to people soliciting tests. If a testing kit is mailed to you, you should not accept the test. Return the test to the sender and alert local authorities immediately.
“Unfortunately there are always going to be people out there looking to take advantage of others during times of crisis and uncertainty,” Mayor Kokoros said. “We want everyone to be aware of these scams and to not fall victim. Please be vigilant and if you have any concerns call the Braintree Police Department.”
The Massachusetts’s Attorney General’s Office provides these tips for residents to protect themselves from other scams and frauds:
- Watch out for high-priced or low-quality products; report any retailers that inflate prices on products like hand sanitizer and face masks.
- Beware of false and misleading information being spread online. Use reputable sources such as the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
- Keep an eye out for unauthorized or fraudulent charities or solicitations. Before donating to a coronavirus charity, make sure the charity is legitimate.
Residents should also check in on their elderly loved ones and neighbors to make sure that they have not been contacted by potential scammers.
If anyone has questions or feels like they have been victimized, they are encouraged to call the Braintree Police Department at 781-794-8600.
Massachusetts residents who believe they are victims of fraud or other criminal activity related to the pandemic should also contact the United States Attorney’s Office at USAMA.victimassistance[email protected] or call 1-888-221-6023 and leave a message.
Members of the public can also contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) by visiting www.IC3.gov.
“Many people are juggling a lot of different things right now with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chief Dubois said. “Scammers look for people who might be vulnerable and it is important that you do not make it easy on them. If you get a call from someone soliciting money do not give out your personal information and hang up the phone. There are many ways to donate to charitable causes and most of them will never call you to solicit donations directly.”