Inflated Prices and Consumer Protection: Attorney General Ford Monitors COVID-19 Related Scams

March 20, 2020

Carson City, NV - Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford provides more information on how his office continues to monitor and investigate potential fraudsters related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as we receive complaints. Nevada consumers should be cautious of these fraudsters who may text, email, use social media, or come door to door to promote scams as they use deception, ask for victim donations, or offer advice on unproven treatments or send harmful attachments and links.

AG Ford and his Bureau of Consumer Protection are working around the clock to monitor and investigate complaints that may violate consumer protection laws, including antitrust and deceptive trade practices. Thus far, our office has received nearly 100 calls and complaints from Nevadans related to COVID-19 scams.

The type of complaints our office is monitoring and has the ability to review include the following:

  • Coordinated increases in prices for goods or services; 
  • Inflated consumer prices for cleaning, health supplies and water. 
  • Use of false representations, particularly viral disinfectants and other products claiming to cure COVID-19; and 
  • Use of intimidation tactics during a transaction.

"My office is using every tool and resource at its disposal to monitor and act against those individuals who would take advantage of our residents by inflating prices or deceiving them," said AG Ford. "The full weight of my Bureau of Consumer Protection is actively working to monitor and protect Nevadans, especially those who might be particularly vulnerable and under duress during this predicament."

The Attorney General's Office is actively engaging with the Federal Trade Commission, its sister states, and websites and businesses such as Facebook and GoFundMe on misinformation and guarding consumers against fraud. The office is also working with the Nevada Retail Association and other retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to help ensure there is no restraint of commerce and prices for goods and services remain reasonable.

The Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection reminds every Nevada consumer to do the following to avoid falling victim to scams:

  • Avoid clicking on links in emails or messages from people you do not know; 
  • Be suspicious of any emails and posts claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control or other supposed experts. Updated information regarding the coronavirus is provided directly on the CDC website and other related websites such as the World Health Organization and Department of Health and Human Services; 
  • Be skeptical of online promotions for treatments, cures or vaccines for coronavirus. If there were a medical breakthrough, it would not be advertised for the first time through a sales pitch; and 
  • Do your research before donating to any relief or related charitable causes. 

The Attorney General's Office encourages Nevadans to take care to protect their personal and financial information. For information on the status of COVID-19 as well as local resources, visit the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services website.

The Bureau of Consumer Protection Hotline has been updated to include helpful information for the public as well as how to file a complaint. Please call the toll free number at (888) 434-9989 for assistance.

If you believe you have been a victim related to these or any other scams, you may file a complaint with the Office of the Nevada Attorney General here, or with the Federal Trade Commission on its website.