As a nation ravaged by the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis gets some long-awaited good news about emerging vaccines to combat the deadly virus — would-be thieves remind us that no silver lining comes without clouds.
From the start of the pandemic, fraudsters have sought to exploit well-founded fears — especially those of senior citizens — to garner ill-gotten gains while compounding the suffering of the community’s most vulnerable.
Local and national agencies as well as senior advocates have warned of such scams and offer a variety of tips to protect against fraud and identity theft.
Katie Conner, spokeswoman for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, said the first sign of trouble often comes in the form of unsolicited calls and messages.
“Con artists will try every way possible to scam people during this pandemic. Consumers need to keep their guards up. Don’t believe anyone who contacts you out of the blue asking for personal information or demanding payment for a vaccine,” Ms. Conner told Daily Independent on December 8.
The AG’s office serves as a clearing house for fraud complaints and shares up-to-date information at the agency’s website to keep consumers informed about the latest scams.
To do this, they need the public’s help to keep them posted about what’s happening on the ground, according to Ms. Conner.
“File a complaint with our office immediately if you’ve been a victim of consumer fraud,” she said. “We need consumer complaints to identify the scammers in Arizona so we can take action. People can also call 602-542-5763 and we’ll mail them a complaint form.”
The agency provides information and advice about a variety of scams at azag.gov/complaints/consumer. Citizens may also file complaints about fraud attempts at that site.