Whenever something as serious as coronavirus is on residents’ minds across the country, bad actors, including scam artists often take advantage of consumers. The Department of Consumer Protection and the Office of the Attorney General have already received complaints and issued warnings to consumers.
Some Examples of Issues Consumers May Experience
- Profiteering and Price Gouging: Price gouging means increasing the price of an item for sale at retail by more than what could be justified based on normal market fluctuations. During a civil preparedness emergency, it’s illegal.
- Cancelled Trips: A number of consumers booked cruises, flights, amusement park visits, or trips through a school or organization that have now been cancelled. We’re encouraging consumers to review their terms and conditions and contact the company or establishment they’ve worked with regarding refunds or credits. If anyone has questions or issues, they may contact the state.
- Unfair and Deceptive Advertising: The Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) prohibits unfair competition and unfair and deceptive acts. During public health emergencies, scam artists may claim to be selling a miracle cure. Don’t believe those claims or purchase those products.
- Charity Scams: Consumers should not donate to any organization claiming to help those sick from the coronavirus unless they have done their research. Any charity soliciting in the State of Connecticut must be registered with DCP. Consumers can verify registrations at www.elicense.ct.gov.
- Investment Scams: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned people about online promotions, including on social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly-traded “companies” can prevent, detect, or cure coronavirus.
- Imposter Scams: Look out for emails claiming to be the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO). If consumers are not already subscribed to receive emails from them, they won’t receive an unsolicited email.
- Phishing Attacks: Scammers may send emails and texts, and consumers may even see ads on social media designed to make them click on a link and give away their information. Consumers should never click on, or open any links that are suspicious, and never give any personal information to anyone they don’t know and trust.
Anyone who notices a marketplace issue or feels they have been the victim of a scam, should please contact the state.
State Agency Contact Information
- Connecticut Attorney General - File a Complaint: 860-808-5318
- Department of Consumer Protection - Complaint Forms and Procedures: 860-713-6300
- Insurance Department - File a Complaint: 800-203-3447 or 860-297-3900
- The Insurance Department should be contacted about issues with travel insurance.
- Federal Trade Commission
- Securities and Exchange Commission