Sheriff warns of COVID-19 scam risk

Published 9:04 am Wednesday, April 1, 2020

This article was written by Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal.

I remind all parish residents to be cautious of coronavirus scams. These scams can come in the form of an email, telephone calls or misinformation posted on social media. Be suspicious of any person contacting you concerning the coronavirus and offering to sell products for prevention, protection or recovery. Con artists may also create fraudulent online donation accounts or investment scams.

Always remember, the government, law enforcement, utility companies, banks and insurance companies never contact you by phone or online asking for personal information such as social security numbers, bank account numbers or other personal identification information. If you get such a request, give no information to the caller and hang up immediately. Also, never respond to any request to send money in order to receive money or prizes.

Con artist callers often use demanding or offensive language, threatening arrest or some other penalty if you do not send money. Ignore them and hang up immediately.

Here are some “do nots” to protect you at all times:

  • Do not click on any links in an email or text message unless you are absolutely certain the sender and link are legitimate.
  • Do not shop online unless you are certain of the security of the company website you are dealing with. Always look for the “secure” icon in the address or make certain the website address begins with “https.” Never shop with companies you don’t know or don’t trust.
  • Do not use public Wi-Fi to shop from a mobile device.
  • Do not share Facebook or other social media posts from sources or individuals you do not know.

Do use common sense when interacting with other persons over the internet, any form of social media and the telephone. Be extra careful at all times and continue to maintain social distancing.

Always remember, your Sheriff’s Office continues to work around the clock to protect you. We can always be reached at 985-839-3434 or, in an emergency, by dialing 911.