Attorney General Mike Hunter on Friday announced the state’s price gouging statute is in effect statewide.
The action follows an emergency declaration by President Donald Trump regarding COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus.
The Emergency Price Stabilization Act prohibits increasing the price of goods and services by more than 10 percent after a declared emergency.
Hunter said the statute automatically triggers after the issuance of a state or federal emergency declaration.
Gov. Kevin Stitt issued an emergency declaration for all 77 counties on Sunday.
The statute allows Hunter’s office to pursue charges against individuals or businesses that engage in price gouging.
“Scam artists routinely prey on individuals’ emotions during times of fear and crisis,” Hunter said. “I encourage Oklahomans to remain calm but cautious during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Don’t pay inflated prices for things like hand sanitizer, paper towels or other products and services that are becoming sparse.
“If anyone encounters price gouging, fraudulent charities or other crimes related to deceptive business practices, contact my office where we will not hesitate to prosecute in order to shut these operations down to protect our citizens.”
For more information or to file a complaint, individuals are encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit by phone at (405) 521-2029, or email at email@example.com.
The following are guidelines and information on how to avoid scams related to the Coronavirus, as well as where to find additional information and resources:
- Avoid all offers for vaccines or other products specifically claiming to treat or cure COVID-19. The FDA has not yet approved any medical products or treatments for this virus;
- Do not open emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, or any other entity for which you have not personally subscribed to receive email updates;
- Go directly to government websites, like the CDC, to review trusted updates. These organizations will never ask for personal log-in information or require a download to provide health materials from an email; and
- Thoroughly research charities claiming to be assisting those affected by the Coronavirus. Reputable relief organizations will never require donations in cash, wire, transfers or gift cards. Do not be pressured into immediately paying, instead take time to confirm legitimacy.