News from Representative Luria

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Dear Friend,

It is unacceptable when people take advantage of the COVID-19 crisis to spread false information, overcharge Coastal Virginians for essential goods, or to scam them out of their hard-earned money. Below, I have provided guidance and resources to help you and your family stay vigilant during this difficult time.

 

Price Gouging

 

Vendors may attempt to capitalize on this health emergency by selling vital goods, such as hand sanitizer, medicine, or water, at exorbitant prices. This could prevent many Virginians from affording everyday necessities.

To file a complaint, you can call Virginia’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-552-9963, email  Consumer@oag.state.va.us, or print and fill out this form.

 

Stimulus Payment Scams

 

With the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) distributing COVID-19 stimulus payments over the next few weeks, scammers may use this as an opportunity to prey on vulnerable people. Below is guidance from the IRS to avoid these scams.

Scammers are looking to defraud the American public in a variety of ways, here are a few examples:

  • Trying to get you to sign over your check to them.
  • Using this as an opportunity to get you to “verify” your filing information to receive your money, using your personal information at a later date to file false tax returns in an identity theft scheme.

Here are some key things to keep in mind:

  • The IRS will deposit your check into the direct deposit account you previously provided on your tax return (or, in the alternative, send you a paper check).
  • The IRS will not call and ask you to verify your payment details. Do not give out your bank account, debit account, or PayPal account information - even if someone claims it's necessary to get your check. It's a scam.
  • If you receive texts or emails claiming that you can get your money faster by sending personal information or clicking on links, delete them. Don't click on any links in those emails.
  • If you receive a “check” in the mail now, it’s a fraud - it will take the Treasury a few weeks to mail those out. If you receive a “check” for an odd amount (especially one with cents), or a check that requires that you verify the check online or by calling a number, it’s a fraud.

Guidance from the Federal Trade Commission

 

The Federal Trade Commission has published guidance to help consumers avoid misinformation and scams. See below for a brief synopsis.

  • Ignore offers for online vaccinations or home test kits.
  • Hang up on robocalls. These are illegal and pitch everything from low-priced health insurance to work-at-home schemes.
  • Be cautious of emails claiming to be from the CDC or WHO. Use sites like coronavirus.gov and usa.gov/coronavirus to get the latest information.
  • Research charities before donating. Never donate in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money.

Please know that my team and I stand ready to assist our community during this time of need. For resources to help you and your family navigate through COVID-19, please see here. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our offices via the phone numbers below.

Sincerely,

 

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