3 tips to keep coronavirus from costing you financially

Check travel refund policies. Watch for — and report — price-gouging. And take these steps to avoid coronavirus scams.

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Your credit-card issuer might be able to help obtain a refund for travel canceled due to the COVID-19 virus, but it depends on the fine print.

Your credit-card issuer might be able to help obtain a refund for travel canceled due to the COVID-19 virus, but it depends on the fine print.

AP

We’re all washing our hands more and taking other steps to steer clear of the novel coronavirus. Now, it’s time to also take steps to keep COVID-19 from hitting us in the wallet.

Here are three money-related items for your COVID-19 to-do list:

  • Check travel refund policies. If you booked a trip before the coronavirus became widespread and are having second thoughts, check the cancellation and refund policies for your airline, cruise, train line, tour, hotel and other vendors.

The bad news is you might not automatically get a refund even if you were traveling to an event that’s now canceled. The good news: Many travel companies are making exceptions.

If you bought travel insurance, read the fine print. Some policies are highly restrictive. Depending on the situation, you might be able to get a refund through the credit card you used to book the trip.

  • Watch for and report price-gouging. If you see someone trying to make an unfair buck selling exorbitantly overpriced face masks, sanitizer or essential household items, report it to the Illinois attorney general’s office, and notify online platforms such as Amazon, eBay and others if you spot price-gouging on them.
  • Take these steps to avoid coronavirus scams. When a crisis hits or the stock market seesaws, con artists come out in force, for instance offering supposedly “safer” investments that actually have hidden risks or higher costs, the Consumer Federation of America cautions.

Ignore unsolicited emails claiming to be from health authorities — they could contain harmful links. Instead, turn to websites for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization, the Federal Trade Commission advises.

Also, health experts say it’s not necessary for healthy people to wear face masks, so steer clear of websites selling phony masks, the Better Business Bureau warns.

And beware of products that claim to prevent or cure the novel coronavirus. Report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission and the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

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