ANNAPOLIS, Md. — U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., held a tele-town hall this week to give residents a chance to ask questions about consumer protections during the COVID-19 pandemic. Concerns about credit ratings and coronavirus scams were two of the hottest topics for people on the call.
One Marylander asked if his credit scores will take a hit because he can’t make rent as a result of a coronavirus job loss. Raskin said Congress is pushing to protect credit scores.
“Within the majority caucus in the House of Representatives,” he said, “we’ve been talking about adding to our next round of legislation a provision that would actually require the credit rating agencies not to downgrade anybody because of whatever took place during the corona crisis.”
He said the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security or ‘CARES’ Act was supposed to provide a moratorium on recording missed or late payments on credit reports, but the financial industry lobbied against it. He said he hopes the protections will be included in the next stimulus package.
The tele-town hall also revealed that virus-related fraud is skyrocketing in the state. Eric Friedman, director of the Frederick County Office of Consumer Protection, said some folks are reporting that their landlords have incorrectly told them that tenants are required to use their stimulus checks to pay rent. Also, bogus products are being advertised that falsely claim to cure or protect people from the new coronavirus.
“They are selling things like virus-killing toothpaste, air purifiers that claim to kill all the viruses in our home, and even water filters that supposedly keep COVID-19 out of our drinking water,” Friedman said.
He said people also need to be aware of price gouging and financial fraud during the crisis. If you’ve been a victim of a scam, contact the Maryland Attorney General’s consumer hotline at 410-528-8662 or go to marylandattorneygeneral.gov.