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Local police warn residents of COVID-19 scams

San Antonio – Alamo Area Police agencies are on high alert and looking for opportunistic thieves who are using the coronavirus pandemic to scam people out of money and personal information.

Boerne police issued a warning on social media, reminding seniors to guard their bank account information when dealing with grocery delivery services. They urge people to use reputable stores and companies.

How to avoid new coronavirus scams

Castle Hills police said they’re expecting scams that will take advantage of people’s fears.

“I think we’ll see certain scams surrounding, likely, cures or testing kits, home testing kits, things of that nature,” said Castle Hills Police Chief Johnny Siemens. “Certainly, in times of uncertainty, people will just kind of grasp at any hope they can get a hold of.”

Siemens said even people offering free services to seniors should be vetted, especially those offering grocery shopping services.

“It’s where folks are offering to go out and do the shopping for you so you’re not exposed to COVID-19 because there’s lines and things like that. And then they’re just keeping the money and not coming back,” he said.

Siemens said these types of scams have not been seen in the community, but he wants to make sure people are vigilant.

Universal City Police Detective Anthony Travis warns people of door-to-door scams during this period of social distancing or even after.

“You shouldn’t be opening the door anyway. And if you have to let them know, now’s not the time,” Travis said.

Ask for contact information to follow up with the salesperson later by phone or a letter from the company.

The Texas Attorney General warns people to safeguard their personal information over the internet. Don’t click on suspicious websites and stick to reputable ones for information as some links may be tied to phishing scams.

Don’t fall for fake cures or test kits. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has not authorized any test that is available for purchase for testing at home for COVID-19.

Police say don’t be pressured to make a decision. Ask for a callback number and call non-emergency police dispatch in your city to ask for help verifying the company.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

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