COLUMBIA, S.C.–The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) offers the following tips to help protect your wallet during the Coronavirus:
• Don’t click on links you don’t easily recognize. The download could harm your computer or device. This includes websites that claim to be tracking the Coronavirus spread through interactive maps. Always visit trusted websites that have a secure network; look for the “S” after “http” and/or a lock symbol before the URL.
• Watch for phishing emails. Scammers often impersonate government agencies, so be on the lookout for emails pretending to be from well-known health organizations like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). If you receive any unexpected messages or offers that look suspicious, report them to SCDCA.
• Ignore offers for a “cure” or vaccination. If you see ads for products that claim to cure or treat Coronavirus, run the other way! If there had been a medical breakthrough, you would not be hearing about it through an ad.
• Check travel cancellation and refund policies. You are not automatically entitled to a refund or credit if you decide not to attend an event or travel or because an event is cancelled. Check with the booking company to see if they are making exceptions because of the virus and ask about your options. You may also have protections through your credit card company or trip insurance provider. Thinking about making travel plans? Make sure to read the cancellation/ refund policies before you book. Consumers who believe they are the victim of a scam or identity theft are encouraged to seek guidance from SCDCA’s Identity Theft Unit. Call (844) TELL DCA (835-5322) or fill out a Scam Report form by visiting our website and clicking on the How Do I… button, then Report a Scam.
The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs aims to protect consumers from inequities in the marketplace through advocacy, complaint mediation, enforcement and education. To file a complaint or get information on consumer issues, visit www.consumer.sc.gov or call toll-free, 1 (800) 922-1594.