San Mateo County DA issues price gouging alert due to coronavirus outbreak

San Mateo County DA warns about fake at-home COVID-19 test kits, bogus cures

in Crime/Featured/Headline

The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office released a new alert today about scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic, warning about offers of fake cures, at-home test kits and advice on unproven treatments, among others.

“While we have not had any cases submitted to us for such fraudulent conduct, we remain concerned about citizens be taking advantage of by Covid-19 scams,” District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Wagstaffe’s alert (read full release here) shines a light on common scams reported around the country. Scammers have been…

  • Selling fake at-home test kits.
  • Soliciting donations for individuals, groups, and areas affected by COVID-19.
  • Offering to sell fake cures, vaccines, and advice on unproven treatments for COVID-19.
  • Creating fake businesses, websites, social media accounts, and email addresses claiming to sell medical supplies currently in high demand, such as surgical masks. When consumers attempt to purchase supplies, the crooks keep the money and never provide the merchandise.
  • Posing as national and global health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sending phishing emails designed to trick recipients into downloading malware or providing personal identifying information.

The community can protect themselves by relying on information related to COVID-19 from trusted sources like their personal health care provider and county, state and federal public health officials; to not click on links or open email attachments from unknown and unverified sources, to check online reviews of any company offering COVID-19 products or supplies to ensure they are legitimate with a good record; to research charities or crowdfunding sites soliciting donations; and to ignore offers for a COVID-19 vaccine, cure or treatment.

To report a COVID-19 related scam in San Mateo County, contact the District Attorney’s Office at (650) 363-4651, call your local police department, or visit here.