Beware: COVID-19 Scams on the Rise

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, law enforcement and consumer advocacy experts are warning of an increase in COVID-19 related scams.

Maryland State Police are warning of telephone scams in which a caller claims to be an agent for Publishers Clearing House, stating that the person contacted had “won the grand prize,” but only after paying a $250 fee to cover taxes.

Most recent cases of this nationwide scam were in the Upper Eastern Shore region, with people saying they received a call from someone claiming to be “Agent John Clark,” on behalf of Publisher’s Clearing House.

Another scam revolves around the federal government stimulus checks. Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings says scammers are calling individuals and saying they won’t receive their payment unless they provide personal information like Social Security numbers.

An important rule of thumb from the Delaware Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Unit that applies to consumers nationwide is to never provide personal information like your bank account information, social security number, address or even credit and debit card information over the phone.