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  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , price gouging,   

    Coronavirus scams are as bad as the disease 

    Coronavirus scams are as bad as the disease

    The coronavirus crisis has not gotten any better over the past few weeks. Tragically, it has claimed more lives and more cases are being reported every day. The crisis has created such a climate of fear that scammers have tried to seize every opportunity to take advantage of that fear. It’s gotten so bad that Amazon has removed one million products that made false coronavirus claims and Facebook has cracked down on misleading ads about coronavirus. This is not something that either of these companies does lightly. Just about every State Attorney General has also warned their constituents to wary of scams related to the outbreak.

    When we first discussed coronavirus scams, we discussed phishing attacks that are used to infect your device with malware. Those phishing attacks have become more sophisticated as many of them are now trying to disguise their emails as coming from places like the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control. A great way to tell that these emails are fake is checking the email address it was sent from. If it’s from the WHO the email address would end in who.int while the CDC’s would end in cdc.gov. You should also always hover your cursor over any links contained in the email to see exactly where the links may take you. The odds are they’ll take you to a site infested with malware or one designed to try to steal your personal information.

    We’ve also previously discussed how con artists from all over the world are trying to sell snake oil cures. Again, as of the time of this post, there is no vaccine or cure for the coronavirus. Anyone who is trying to tell you otherwise is either woefully misinformed or trying to sell you something that is at best a placebo and at worst toxic and dangerous.

    Much like when a natural disaster occurs, price gouging is also being committed for legitimate supplies that will be useful if everyday services become disrupted. Bottled water is one of those items as are surgical masks. Speaking of the masks, you shouldn’t be going out to buy a crate of masks unless advised by a medical professional. Surgical masks are designed to keep the wearer from spreading any infection and doesn’t prevent wearers from getting one. Not only that, but there are also counterfeiters who are selling bogus masks that don’t do anything at all. There have also been reports that bogus websites have been popping up claiming to sell masks and other items that aren’t selling anything at all. Instead, they’re just stealing your financial information.

    Even the greedy among us are being scammed by buying into phony investments that promise a return when you supposedly invest in companies that will supposedly cure the virus. On the flip side, the charitable among us are at risk as well as many scammers will be posing as charities that either claim to be researching a cure or helping those affected by the disease. Always carefully research any charity you think is worth donating to.

    For more information please check the Federal Trade Commission’s website about coronavirus scams.

    As always, if you want to keep abreast of the ever-changing situation please go to the websites for the World Health Organization, or the Centers for Disease Control.

     
  • Geebo 7:10 am on August 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , price gouging   

    State launches price gouging app ahead of hurricane 

    State launches price gouging app ahead of hurricane

    Hurricane Dorian is expected to make landfall in Florida as a Category 3 hurricane within the next few days. Governor Ron DeSantis has already declared a state of emergency in preparation for the potentially devastating storm. Whenever a hurricane is expected residents in the affected area will always be in a mad scramble for supplies and lodging that they might need during the emergency. Unfortunately, this can lead to price gouging with some vendors and hotels as they may look to take advantage of the situation. However, the Sunshine State has taken steps to try to combat price gouging.

    The Florida Attorney General’s Office has released a smartphone app called ‘No Scam’ that is designed to help Florida residents to report price gouging. The app is available on both Apple and Android phones. The app will allow residents to add pictures and copies of receipts from their phone speeding up the reporting process. Florida takes price gouging very seriously as those caught artificially inflating prices can be fined $1,000 per infraction and can be fined up to $25,000 in a 24 hour period.

    For whatever reason, if the app were to give you any kind of trouble you can still report price gouging to Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline at 1-866-966-7226, or their website at myfloridalegal.com. It is recommended that you either keep your receipt or take a picture of the inflated charge before submitting a report.

     
  • Geebo 9:07 am on September 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , north carolina, price gouging, ,   

    Price gouging a real concern during a hurricane 

    Price gouging a real concern during a hurricane

    With the impending arrival of Hurricane Florence looking to be a storm of a lifetime event in the Mid-Atlantic, three states have declared states of emergency. Those states being South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. The hurricane is expected to make landfall in one those states later this week. To make matters worse, whenever a hurricane is set to hit an area, there are usually those whose intent is to make a king’s ransom of profit over helping those in need during a time of crisis.

    Price gouging is when a merchant or lodging provider charge an exorbitant amount for their goods or services during a crisis when need is in high demand. Thankfully, the three states mentioned, all have laws in place to prevent price gouging when a state of emergency has been declared. With so many people looking for supplies, fuel, or alternative lodging, it’s refreshing to see governments looking to make sure that people in need aren’t being taken advantage of.

    However, that doesn’t mean that price gouging won’t occur. For example, if you were to leave the area where an emergency has been declared, you may be at the mercy of an unscrupulous vendor. If you live in South Carolina and evacuate to Georgia, where a state of emergency has not been declared, you may see an exorbitant price increase for food, gas, and lodging. If you are in a state that has declared an emergency some vendors may still take to price gouging in defiance of the law. If that is the case, these articles from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia all have the information you need to contact the proper authorities.

    To everyone who is facing the wrath of this potentially devastating storm, please stay safe.

     
  • Geebo 10:10 am on September 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Hurrican Irma, price gouging   

    Florida suffers price gouging in wake of Hurricane Irma 

    Florida suffers price gouging in wake of Hurricane Irma

    Before Hurricane Irma even made landfall in Florida, the state Attorney General’s office received over 8,000 complaints about price gouging. In what has unfortunately become the norm during natural disasters, some retailers took it upon themselves to raise the prices on such necessities as gas, food, water and lodging. Some reports have indicated that some gas stations in the affected area raised their prices to $8 a gallon during the evacuation period. While some may call this just a simple case of supply and demand, price gouging like this is illegal in Florida and the Attorney General has been serious about fining infractions.

    Violators can be fined $1,000 per infraction and can be fined up to $25,000 in a 24 hour period. Now, with the devastation in the area becoming even more widespread, price gouging is even expected to rise. The way the state determines price gouging is that they compare prices from 30 days prior to the date of the infraction and see if the price has been raised in an outrageous fashion.

    If you feel a retailer is taking advantage of the Hurricane you can report them to the state’s Price Gouging Hotline at 1-866-966-7226, or their website at myfloridalegal.com. It is recommended that you either keep your receipt or take a picture of the inflated charge before submitting a report.

     
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