Two additional travel-related cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Santa Cruz County. This brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Santa Cruz County to 14. Thieves are taking advantage of an already difficult time and preying on vulnerable people through fraud scams. As residents begin to receive their anticipated stimulus checks from the federal government, they are vulnerable, and it is important to be aware of fraud schemes. According to the IRS, residents will not be asked to verify payment details, nor will a representative of the IRS ask for bank account, debit account, or PayPal account information. If an individual claims that the information is necessary for the resident to get their economic impact payment, it a scam. Residents will receive a stimulus check in whole dollar amounts, and it will require verification.
Below are common fraudulent tactics used by thieves, as a well as simple steps to keep residents and their information safe. Additional information and resources will be made available on the City’s COVID-19 website, www.covid19.nogalesaz.gov
Common Fraudulent Tactics
- Claiming to be a representative of a government agency or working on behalf of a government agency
- Asking for personal information, such as bank information
- Claiming to offer COVID-19 relief packages, offering loans, or the ability to fast-track Federal stimulus checks
- Asking for payment in cash, gift cards, wire money, or cryptocurrency.
- Unexpected emails or texts from an unknown number, especially ones that claim to be an alert that a check is ready for pick up, or offering loans or COVID-19 relief packages.
What to do if you receive a call, email, or text that you suspect to be fraud
- Do NOT engage with the sender or caller. Hang up or delete the text or email.
- Do NOT click on any links. Links can contain malware that can steal information from your computer or phone.
- Report suspected fraud to the Arizona Attorney General Fraud Task Force.
How to avoid COVID-19 scams
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations or home test kits.
- Hang up on robocalls. Especially calls attempting to sell low-priced health insurance or work-at-home schemes.
- Don’t click on links in emails or texts you didn’t expect.
- Research before you donate. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation.
Two local programs to help students will launch on April 20th. The Nogales City Library is partnering with the School Superintendent’s Office to have curbside computer assistance for students at the parking lot of the Rio Rico Library. It will be available Monday to Thursday, from 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM at the Rio Rico Library parking lot. For more information, call the Rio Rico Library at 520-281-8067. The Santa Cruz County School Superintendent’s Office partnering with Santa Cruz County to open WIFI Hot Spots along with laptop rentals at Santa Cruz County Complex and Santa Cruz County Building Monday – Thursday, from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM. The Hot Spots are for students K-12 that do not have sufficient WIFI or laptop access to complete their school projects. Students and parents may check out a laptop for up to two hours. A government-issued ID is required to check out the laptops, and students under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Residents interested in more information can call 520-375-7940. A copy of the informational flyer will be available on the City’s COVID-19 website, www.covid19.nogalesaz.gov.
Mayor Garino distributed banners from the City’s Banners for Businesses Initiative. The City has received 7 requests for banners from local businesses. More banners are available, upon request. Business owners can request a banner by calling City Hall at 520-287-6571 or by filling out an easy online request form (https://forms.gle/qqKbdBJxXq6YFppR6). The Banners for Businesses Initiative is an effort by the City to help local businesses and encourage residents to continue their support of local businesses. There are a number of resources available for local businesses at www.covid19.nogalesaz.gov as well as through the Nogales-Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce. Area newspapers, such as Nogales International, are making efforts to compile information on businesses for the benefit of residents.