There is no doubt that our community in the United States has been disproportionately affected by the public health emergency unleashed by the spread of the coronavirus. The Hispanic unemployment rate in March rose to 6.0%, above the national average, as around 10 million people have turned to unemployment insurance in the past two weeks alone.
Although the Affordable Health Act made medical coverage possible for millions of Latino families for the first time, our community also has one of the highest rates of lack of access to healthcare, and unfortunately the new rescue initiative did not cover unemployment benefits. to the millions of undocumented immigrants who pay taxes and perform essential tasks for our survival, such as farm workers or hospital workers.
Under this gray panorama, it is doubly insulting and abhorrent that hordes of unscrupulous people – in many cases of Latin origin – take advantage of this crisis to try to defraud the most vulnerable members of our community.
Rosario Méndez, a lawyer from the Consumer Education Division of the International Trade Commission (FTC) explains to me that the most common frauds that they began to report correspond to people who offer vaccines or miraculous cures against the coronavirus. Actually, he told me, those products are not certified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), nor by any official authority. In other words: they are fraudulent.
Other scam schemes seek to strip Latino families of the $ 1,200 or $ 2,400 check they are about to receive from the Treasury Department as part of the economic bailout package or small business loans, at a time when more than 4 million more exist. small Latino-owned businesses.
In the latter case, the scammer telephones and impersonates an official with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or another federal agency and promises to expedite the payment of the check if the person provides him with his Social Security number and other financial information such as bank account or personal information.
It is important to underline that the federal authorities in no case communicate with the public by telephone to request personal data, therefore, any such call is fraudulent in nature and must be reported to the authorities as soon as possible to the 1800-FTC number. -HELP.
That these immoral attempts at fraud are perpetrated in the midst of one of the deepest economic and public health crises is abominable, but that those who do it are the members of our Latino community are doubly unforgivable. Report them.
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