With COVID-19 changing the daily way of life for all people, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and his team continue to fight for the rights of the West Virginia consumer.
Along with a pandemic comes those who wish to help and give of themselves to do all they can to make things better; however, there are also those who prey on and target those who are most vulnerable.
Morrisey said his office has been working hard on the consumer enforcement side of the coronavirus pandemic.
“What that means is we’re getting the word out to fight against price gouging, ensuring that the integrity of the supply channel remains intact, fighting scams, and partnering with our sister state agencies and federal agencies to ensure that all laws are being complied with,” Morrisey said.
A Coronavirus Task Force has been formed between Morrisey’s team and the U.S. Attorneys in both the Northern and Southern Districts.
“We’re trying to pull resources,” Morrisey said. “Our office received over 800 consumer related calls, most of them pertaining to price gouging and scams.”
According to Morrisey, they are wanting to make sure they go after the allegations aggressively.
“We have five investigators working out of our office who are investigating every allegation of wrongdoing,” Morrisey said. “It obviously helps when you can combine resources with other agencies. We work closely with the FBI and with other law enforcement in an effort to try to make sure we are holding people accountable for their actions.”
He added that it is important that they enforce the laws because price gouging and scams are very real. With spikes in the cost of basic food items and shortages on items for everyday use, such as toilet paper, Morrisey said it is the job of his office to look into these issues and discover what is causing them.
“For the most part we have seen that the shelves are getting restocked quickly,” he said. “That’s really in tribute to the many great stores in West Virginia, the truckers, and the folks that are unloading the packages. People are doing some incredible things to help keep West Virginia fed and well supplied.”
Morrisey said it is “critical” that if people hear of scams or price gouging, they should call his office at 1-800-368-8808.
“I will do everything in my power to prevent West Virginians from being defrauded,” Morrisey said.
Several cease and desist letters have already been sent out to potential scammers, according to Morrisey. He said that they will continue to aggressively fight for West Virginia consumers.
“We are trying to enforce the law and empower our citizens to let us know when there are problems,” Morrisey said. “The people are on the front lines and we need them to assist us by reporting what they see.”
To report possible scams or fraudulent issues, contact 1-800-368-8808 or go online to wvago.gov.