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NC Attorney General Says Over 1,000 Price Gouging Complaints Have Been Filed

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Lilly Knoepp
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Essentials at Walmart in Franklin were already limited a few weeks ago.

As panic buying due to COVID-19 increased, so did the efforts of scammers. BPR spoke with North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein about how to stay alert:  

When the state of emergency was declared last month for North Carolina it triggered laws against price gouging explains Stein. 

“What we ask people to do is if they see something that is way more expensive then it was before the emergency, they should just let my office know,” says Stein.

Stein says more than 1,000 complaints filed have been filed across North Carolina. 

“About half of them have been groceries then cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and masks. I mean all of these are to be expected because that is what everyone is desperately looking for,” says Stein.

Stein says opportunistic scammers are capitalizing on the anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“They will exploit that opportunity. And particularly because there is so much fear and uncertainty - especially since this is new to all of us. This gives them an opportunity to try to steal our money and our personal information,” says Stein.

Stein’s office is currently investigating 9 sellers.  You can contact the NC DOJ online at ncdoj.gov/pricegouging or by phone to file a report at 8775-NO-SCAM. 

Lilly Knoepp serves as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina. She is a native of Franklin, NC who returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.