Chief Michael L. Lyle would like to remind residents to be vigilant of potential scams around COVID-19, like requesting donations or selling products claiming to cure, prevent or detect the virus.
Residents should not partake in any COVID-19 testing from door-to-door solicitors, people who approach them at grocery stores or other community venues, solicitors who call requesting financial information in return for a test or mail COVID-19 test offerings.
Chief Lyle warns that residents should NEVER give personal information, medicare numbers, money or home access to people soliciting tests. If a testing kit is mailed to you, you should not accept the test. Return the test to the sender and alert local authorities immediately.
“It is important to properly research offers, pay attention to official information regarding COVID-19 and tell authorities of any suspicious activity you encounter,” said Chief Lyle. “It’s not uncommon to see scammers try to take advantage of people during uncertain times and we encourage residents to remain vigilant.”
The Massachusetts’s Attorney General’s Office provides these tips for residents to protect themselves from other scams and frauds:
- Watch out for high-priced or low-quality products; report any retailers that inflate prices on products like hand sanitizer and face masks.
- Beware of false and misleading information being spread online. Use reputable sources such as the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
- Keep an eye out for unauthorized or fraudulent charities or solicitations. Before donating to a coronavirus charity, make sure the charity is legitimate.
If anyone has questions or feels like they have been victimized, they are encouraged to call the Melrose Police Department at 781-655-1212.
Massachusetts residents who believe they are victims of fraud or other criminal activity related to the pandemic should contact the United States Attorney’s Office at [email protected] or call 1-888-221-6023 and leave a message. Members of the public can also contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) by visiting www.IC3.gov.