California Dept. of Business Oversight is stepping up its efforts as a result of COVID-19

photo/logo courtesy of the California Dept. of Business oversight (DBO)

Gov. Newsom is not alone in his work to “meet the moment” as he calls it during this time of unprecedented circumstances.

The California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) is also doing its part as COVID-19 continues to spread making daily life a challenge. “The DBO is stepping up its consumer protection efforts but the public also should be vigilant and extra careful during this historic pandemic,” said DBO Commissioner Manuel P. Alvarez today in an announcement to the press.

The DBO has experienced a 40 percent increase in consumer complaints, calls and inquiries since the onset of COVID-19 in the Golden State. Some Californians don’t see any silver lining in the horizon as adherence to protocols among other issues, have been clouded. Residents in Orange County for example, have expressed skepticism over the seriousness of the pandemic. Some going as far as refusing to wear face masks.  Despite his best efforts Gov. Newsom has gotten both praise as well as harsh criticism. As reported by The Sacramento Bee, Newsom has been providing regular updates via Facebook and other platforms. “99,600 tests reported yesterday with 8,755 positive cases,” Newsom posted earlier today. The Los Angeles Times also noted that Newsom’s personal Instagram and Twitter feeds never ceased to whir.

Apart from health issues, the DBO announced that COVID-19 Pandemic-related concerns about mortgages, student loans, personal loans, questionable investments, and apparent fraudulent schemes prompted many of the additional complaints and consumer contacts the DBO received in March through the end of June.

In the four-month span from March 1 through the end of June, “consumer complaints have increased more than 37 percent to an average of 588 per month, email inquiries jumped 86 percent to almost 2,400 per month and consumer calls climbed 22 percent to more than 3,100 per month,” said Mark Leyes, speaking on behalf the DBO communications department office.

The heavy volume of calls and inquiries isn’t just local. Both the U.S. Dept. of Justice and the FBI are asking citizens to be vigilant to all sorts of schemes and scams that are emerging as a result of the Coronavirus. Even scams involving COVID-19 antibody testing fraud schemes are out there. The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services noted that Scammers are offering COVID-19 tests to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for personal details, including Medicare information. Such scam schemes are using telemarketing social media and other means to dupe the public into thinking these are legitimate – they are not. Dept. of Health & Human Services is warning the public to be very cautious. And, to report any suspicious activity they might encounter. 

To add to this DBO Commissioner Alverez pointed out…

Manuel P. Alvarez is the current Dept. of Business Oversight Commissioner for the State of California. Photo courtesy of the CA DBO

“Predatory financial products and services proliferate in an economic crisis. The DBO is stepping up its consumer protection efforts, he said. But the public also should be vigilant and extra careful during this historic pandemic.”

Consumers can reach the DBO at (866) 275-2677 or visit the California Department of Business Oversight website.