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Fraud Attempts On The Rise, Officials Urge Residents To Be Cautious

LINCOLN-(KFOR Apr. 1)-The Lincoln Police Department reported Wednesday it has seen an increase in the number of attempts to defraud people since the arrival of coronavirus in Nebraska.

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister advised residents in a briefing Wednesday to be aware of the illegal activity and prevent themselves from becoming victims. Mayor Gaylor Baird noted that her own name had been used in fraudulent emails sent to City employees asking them to purchase gift cards.

“It’s unfortunate that in every disaster, unscrupulous individuals will use people’s fear or generosity to steal their money or identity,” said Mayor Gaylor Baird. “We all must be aware, be careful and report any attempted fraud to officals.

Jim Hegarty, President and CEO of the Regional Better Business Bureau for Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Kansas, asked the public to report any suspicious activity over the next few months as residents begin to receive federal funds.

“The coronavirus has created a perfect storm for scammers,” said Hegarty. “Individuals, as well as businesses, are more likely to lose money to a scam when they are financially vulnerable, isolated from others, and spending more time online.”

The LPD and BBB offered the following advice:

  • Hang up on robocalls.
  • Do not reveal personal or financial information on the phone or through email.
  • Scammers may disguise their phone numbers to make it appear that they are calling from a government agency or official when they are not.  When the caller is impersonating a government agency (Police, Sheriff, Social Security, CDC,  Medicare, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Studies) tell them that you will call them back at the number you have for the agency they are representing
  • Government agencies will never ask for payment using gift cards for any reason.  Be cautions when asked to wire money to anyone.
  • There is no vaccine or anti-viral treatment for COVID-19.  Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. Scammers will set up fake websites to sell bogus products or treatments to take your money and personal information.
  • If you want to donate to an organization in our community, contact the agency directly.  Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation.  You can research charities using websites like BBB Wise Giving Alliance at www.give.org.
  • Be cautious of investments scams from companies claiming to have products or services that will help stop COVID-19, especially claims that involve microcap stocks.  For more information on investment scams, visit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission website (below).
  • Avoid clicking links in unsolicited emails.  If you receive an email from what appears to be your financial institution, do not use the links provided in emails.  Use the business’s regular websites.  Do not respond to email solicitations with any information.

Randy Jones, Director of Aging Partners also reminded older adults and their families that Medicare covers virtually all costs, including the lab test for COVID-19 and any medically necessary hospitalizations.

READ MORE: LPS School Grounds And Facilities Restrictions During Pandemic Closure


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