With 63 presumptive cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina – spread across 18 counties, authorities are doing what they can to slow its spread. But social distancing and shutting down schools and restaurants can’t stop the criminals hoping to turn a profit from a crisis.
When Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency last week, it triggered the state’s price-gouging law.
Attorney General Josh Stein says that means it is illegal for someone to sell a product important to life at an excessively unreasonable price. But -- a higher price does not necessarily mean a seller is price-gouging.
"We have so far received 136 price-gouging complaints – half of which have to do with groceries. The number two complaint is hand-sanitizer, followed by cleaning products. We are in the process of investigating those complaints. We have not yet concluded that any of them violate the law."
Stein also warns of other scams – both online and by phone.
Everyone should be aware there are no miracle cures or any vaccines – yet -- for the Coronavirus.
"If someone is promising you that, they are trying to steal your money."
And be careful about falling prey to stories of those in need. Give money to charities you already know.
To file a complaint about price-gouging online, follow this link:
- Robocall Hotline: (844)-8-NO-ROBO
- All Other Complaints: (877)-5-NO-SCAM
- Outside NC: 919-716-6000