CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The Federal Trade Commission has received more than 1,000 reports from New Hampshire of scammers seeking to take advantage of people during the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in about $1.5 million in losses, according to U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan.
“These scams take many forms, including offering expedited access to economic stimulus payments for a fee, impersonating public health officials, and selling phony products that they claim can prevent or cure COVID-19,” Hassan and U.S. Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, both Democrats, wrote in a letter Thursday to several federal agencies. They added, “Government and industry should always cooperate to fight illegal robocalls, but it is even more critical at a time when so many Americans are facing economic and health concerns.”
The senators are asking for information about how the agencies are working together to take enforcement actions against COVID-19-related scammers. In addition to the FTC, they addressed the Internal Revenue Service; Department of Justice; and Federal Communications Commission.
The senators are also following up on a letter they sent to the IRS requesting information on what it is doing to protect Americans from scams related to stimulus payments.
Other coronavirus-related developments in New Hampshire:
As families deal with disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, several state agencies are teaming up to distribute 25,000 health and wellness kits to New Hampshire families that include dental supplies, medication disposal pouches, and flyers on monitoring emotional and mental well-being.
The New Hampshire National Guard is packing the kits. It will deliver them to participating schools and regional pick-up sites over the next two weeks.
The kits also have a family well-being guide. There's also information on the “Choose Love" social-emotional learning program, and on pre-kindergarten readiness.
The project is coordinated by the departments of education, health and human services, in addition to the guard.
“While we are all working hard to protect the physical health of our children, social and emotional well-being remains of the utmost importance,” Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement Thursday.
As of Friday, 5,671 people in New Hampshire had tested positive for the virus, an increase of 34. Eight new deaths were reported, for a total of 365 people who have died from the coronavirus.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause more severe illness and can lead to death.