As the nation continues to respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and consumers are settling into their homes with increased social connections by e-mail, phone, mail, and social media, the Department of Commerce is urging Minnesota consumers to be on alert for potential scams created to take advantage of the fear, isolation, and uncertainty during this unprecedented time.
“First and foremost, consumers should not share any financial or other sensitive information with anyone who contacts them unsolicited,” reminds Commissioner Steve Kelley.
In addition, consumers should be asking the following questions about every e-mail, phone call, and piece of mail they receive because the answers could trigger potential red flags for fraud and scams:
Is the e-mail, phone call, or mail from someone you don’t know?
Is the sender, caller, or item offering you something that seems too good to be true?
Is the sender, caller, or item using language to incite fear or threaten you?
Is the sender, caller, or item urging you to “Act Now” before it’s too late?
Is the sender, caller, or item requesting payment from you and promising to give you something in return after your payment?
Minnesota consumers should be cautious. If there is doubt about the sender, caller, or the idea being pitched - Hang up. Delete the e-mail. Recycle the mail.
At this time, the Department does not have any reported cases of COVID-19 financial scams. If you have questions or if you believe you may have been the victim of a scam or fraud, contact the Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center by e-mail at email@example.com.
The Department can also be reached by phone at (651) 539-1600 or (800) 657-3602, but at this time, e-mail is the most effective and efficient way to raise concerns with the Department.