136 price gouging complaints made amid COVID-19 pandemic, NC AG says

Nearly half of all price-gouging complaints have been about “groceries” in general.
Nearly half of all price-gouging complaints have been about “groceries” in general.(North Carolina Attorney General)
Published: Mar. 18, 2020 at 5:46 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) - North Carolina’s attorney general said his office has received 136 price gouging complaints so far during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s state of emergency declaration on March 10 triggered the state’s price gouging law.

Attorney General Josh Stein said of the 136 complaints – half concern groceries.

Hand sanitizer and cleaning products also make up a lot of the complaints.

“We are in the process of investigating those complaints,” Stein said.

Stein’s office has not made a conclusion on any of those cases.

Stein said other scams from miracle cures to robocalls to phishing attempts are on the rise.

“There were snake oil salesmen in the 19th century, there are snake oil salesmen in the 21st,” Stein said.

Stein said anyone touting a miracle cure to COVID-19 is trying to take your money.

The attorney general said anyone who may have encountered a scam robocall is asked to report it by calling 844-8-NO-ROBO.

Dr. Betsy Tilson, state health director, said there is support for anyone struggling with the social aspects of the pandemic.

“The changes we are making in our daily lives are hard,” Tilson said. “All of this can take a toll on our mental health.”

Tilson directed citizens to the state health department’s website for resources.

Cooper announced NC 2-1-1 by United Way of North Carolina as a resource for people to call for assistance related to COVID-19.

NC 2-1-1 is an information and referral service that families and individuals can call to obtain free and confidential information on health and human services resources within their community.

“Services like NC 2-1-1 are critical during times of emergency,” said Cooper. “North Carolinians can now call 2-1-1 to get the information they need while we continue working together to prevent the spread of this virus.”

North Carolinians can text COVIDNC to 898211 to receive general information and updates about COVID-19. Sign up now to get regular alerts on the rapidly evolving situation and North Carolina’s response.

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