Coronavirus Update: How to Guard Against COVID-19 Scams

May 20, 2020

Dear Friend,

Last week, I held a telephone town hall with Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh to talk about the ways that Marylanders can guard against common COVID-19 scams. If you missed it, you can listen below.

Here are some of the helpful tips that we highlighted:

  • Do not respond to calls, texts or emails about stimulus checks or Economic Impact Payments from the federal government. The IRS will not call, text or email you about these payments.
     
  • Ignore online offers for COVID-19 cures and vaccinations. There are currently no proven treatments or vaccines for the virus.
     
  • Be skeptical about ads for COVID-19 test kits. The FDA has only approved one home test kit, and in order to get it, you need a doctor’s order.
     
  • Hang up on robocalls. Scammers are using robocalls to pitch various illegal schemes, including fake offers for cheap health insurance and get-rich-quick, work-at-home scams.
     
  • For the latest information on COVID-19, only use trusted sources like coronavirus.gov and sarbanes.house.gov/coronavirus. Do not click on links from sources that you do not know.
     
  • When it comes to donations, do your homework about the organization, or organizations, you wish to give to. Never donate with cash, by gift card or by wiring money.
     

For more tips on how to avoid COVID-19 scams, see here and here.

See below for the latest news regarding COVID-19.

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Updates from Washington

  • A Bold New Round of COVID-19 Relief: Last week, I voted to pass the Heroes Act, a critical relief package to address the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency and provide desperately needed support for American families, essential workers, small businesses, hospitals, health care providers and state and local governments.
     
  • Conducting Rigorous Executive Branch Oversight: At a House Subcommittee on Health, I highlighted the Trump Administration’s failure to adequately prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic and focused on how it ignored the warnings of scientists and public health experts, like Dr. Rick Bright, a former senior official at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, who was abruptly ousted from his position after repeatedly raising concerns about the Administration’s anemic response to the virus. You can watch my full exchange with Dr. Bright here.
     

Updates in Maryland

  • Maryland Relaxes Stay-At-Home Order: Maryland has lifted its stay-at-home order but continues to advise all residents to stay at home when possible and observe social distancing in public spaces. In addition, the state has allowed some businesses – including manufacturing, retail and salons – to resume operations with adequate precautions to protect public health and safety. Nonessential businesses remain closed. Marylanders must continue to wear masks on mass transit, in indoor public spaces and in retail stores. Gatherings of 10 or more people are still prohibited.
     
  • New Federal Funding to Expand Testing in Maryland: The Maryland Congressional Delegation announced more than $205 million to increase Maryland’s COVID-19 testing capacity.
     
  • Improve Care for Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities: The Delegation announced more than $25 million in federal funding to help make home and community-based services more accessible for seniors, individuals with disabilities and people with chronic illnesses.
     
  • Securing Federal Resources for Maryland’s Fishing Industry: The Delegation announced more than $4 million in COVID-19 relief for Maryland’s fishing industry, which is primarily composed of small and family owned businesses.
     
  • More Support for Johns Hopkins University Researchers: The Delegation announced more than $162,000 in federal funding for Johns Hopkins University to conduct research into the replication process of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
     

For regular updates and information about the coronavirus, you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

For a full list of coronavirus-related resources, please visit my website.
 

Sincerely,

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Congressman John Sarbanes
Maryland’s Third Congressional District