Nevada attorney general warns of coronavirus scams

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Attorney General Aaron Ford on Wednesday warned people to beware of scammers trying to use the coronavirus scare to cheat people or steal their personal information.

Ford said there have been reports of phishing attempts to exploit the virus through mass emails that look as though they come from the Centers for Disease Control or World Health Organization. He urged people not to open attachments on those emails as that will download malware that steals a person’s personal information such as Social Security and credit card numbers.

He said other scammers are offering medical and personal protection products such as disinfectants, masks and gloves for inflated prices that will never come even though people pay for them. Ford warned people to only deal with known and trusted websites for those types of products.

He said they have also seen a number of emails asking for donations. He said one television evangelist in another state has already been served with a cease and desist order for his attempted solicitations.

Those scams may show up in emails, text messages or on social media sites.

He said his office’s Consumer Protection Bureau is also monitoring and investigating complaints about price gouging by businesses and working with the Nevada Retail Association on protecting consumers from those tactics.

Ford also warned people to ignore claims that some business has a vaccine for the virus, pointing out that when a vaccine is created, “it won’t be announced through an email.”

He praised Gov. Steve Sisolak’s emergency regulations prohibiting increases in medical and prescription costs. That order also prohibits out of pocket costs for testing or charging for the vaccine itself once one is available.

He said anyone who is victimized by scammers or knows of a scam should report it either through the attorney general’s website at or by calling toll free 1-888-434-9989

Ford directed people to the Health and Human Services website for information on the status of the virus in Nevada. He said the effort statewide is to provide as much information as possible in a timely fashion. But that, he said, has to be balanced against the privacy of people who may have contracted the virus. The government, he said, can provide statistical information but personal information about people exposed to or confirmed to have the virus can only be exposed to certain people. That includes parents, guardians and caregivers, public safety providers and emergency room and other health care workers along with anyone directly in contract with an affected person.

Those people ordered to quarantine themselves, he said, may face legal action if they willfully violate the quarantine but whether that comes from his office or local authorities depends on the specific situation. He also pointed out that, under legislation passed by the 2019 legislature, no employer can require a sick employee to come to work.


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