THE REVERE ADVOCATE – FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2020 Page 11 FBI Warns of Potential Charity Fraud Associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic M any Americans want to help during the COVID-19 pandemic by contributing to charities, but the FBI is warning that scammers also want to help—they want to help themselves to your money. Nationwide, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have received reports of scammers fraudulently soliciting donations for individuals, groups, and areas aff ected by COVID-19. They are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both. Don’t let them. Charity scams often occur when a scammer poses as a real charity or uses the name of a real charity to get money from you. Be careful about giving money to any charity calling you for donations and be wary if you get a call about a donation pledge that you don’t remember making. Remember, you can’t always believe your caller ID. Scammers often spoof organizations’ phone numbers. It’s always best to research the organization telephone number yourself and call direct to verify. Do not be pressured or rushed to donate. That is a strong indicator of a scam. Similarly, if you receive an email purporting to be from a charitable organization, do not click on links. These could be attempts to download viruses onto your computer or cell phone. Watch out for charity names which sound very similar to well-known charities, as well as email addresses that are not consistent with the charity soliciting donations. Instead, search for the charity using an internet search engine to ensure you’re connected to the actual charitable organization. The best way to protect yourself is by doing your research. Here are some tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of a charity fraud: • Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether you’re donating through charities, social media, or crowdfunding websites. • Look for online reviews of charity organizations or use information from your state’s regulator of charities or from websites like the Better Business BuGovernor announces COVID-19 measures in place to ensure winter readiness O n October 13 the BakerPolito Administration provided an update on a series of initiatives that will keep supporting the residents of the Commonwealth to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the state’s readiness status heading into the fall and winter. Led by the COVID-19 Command Center, the Administration outlined interdepartmental programs that have been built or expanded since the start of the pandemic in March, all of which strengthen the Commonwealth’s ability and capacity to respond if COVID cases in Massachusetts increase. This includes: • One of the most robust testing networks in the nation • A fi rst-in-class contact tracing network • Investments and strengthened initiatives to provide appropriate care for older adults and staff at Long-Term Care Facilities (LTCF) • Hospital preparedness plans • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) stockpile investments • Health and Safety requirements to protect teachers and students as schools reopen • A cautious, phased approach to resume business activity Testing Since the start of the pandemic, approximately 4.8 million tests have been administered to more than 2.4 million residents in Massachusetts. Growing steadily from approximately 2,000 tests per day in March to about 13,000 a day in May, today approximately 65,000 tests are administered every day. A key driver in this success has been the Stop the Spread initiative, which has sites in 18 of the highest-risk communities. On October 13 the Administration announced that the Stop the Spread initiative has been extended through December. As part of its readiness, the state now has the in-state lab capacity to process more than 100,000 tests per day if demand warrants. This level of testing, which has an average turnaround time of 1.8 days, is part of a strong readiness foundation to identify COVID, stop the spread and inform policy through data analysis. WINTER | SEE Page 14 reau, give.org, charitynavigator.org, or charitywatch.org to check on the legitimacy of charitable organizations. • Before donating, ask how much of the donation will go toward the program or cause you want to support. Every organization has administrative costs, and it’s important to understand those structures. • Never pay by gift card or wire transfer. Credit cards are safer. • After making a donation, be sure to review your financial accounts to ensure additional funds are not deducted or charged. • Always do your research before clicking on links purporting to provide information on the virus, purchasing COVID-related products online, or providing your personal information in order to receive money or other benefi ts. The FBI has more tips at fbi. gov/charityfraud. If you think you are a victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, report it to the FBI online at tips.fbi.gov and to FTC at: ftc.gov/complaint. Annual Women’s Health Forum Cancelled “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Speaker DeLeo’s Annual Women’s Health Forum is cancelled. In these trying times, it is important to maintain your health by keeping your regularly scheduled medical appointments     

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