COVID-19 Coronavirus Information
Authored By: Lagniappe Law Lab
- Information COVID-19 Impacts How can I get legal help? How can I watch out for scams? Related Resources Are courts open? Related Resources
- Visit http://www.coronavirus.gov to learn more.
- If you have questions about coronavirus, please contact the Louisiana 211 Network by dialing dial 211. Or, you can text the keyword LACOVID to 898-211 for the most current information about the outbreak as it becomes available.
Click here for information on housing during the COVID-19 pandemic. This page provides information and resources on evictions, rental assistance for landlords and tenants, home foreclosure prevention, mortgage assistance, and bill payment assistance.
Click here for information on employment during the COVID-19 pandemic. This page provides information and resources on unemployment and workplace safety.
Click here for information on children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. This page provides information and resources on child tax credit and funeral assistance.
Click here for information on the CDC eviction moratorium. This page provides information and resources for landlords and tenants. This page also provides information on the latest deadlines and dates.
Click here for information on Coronavirus relief for some federal student loans. This page provides information for what help is being offered for student loans during the pandemic.
How can I get legal help?
- Acadiana Legal Service Corporation and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services provide free legal assistance to those that qualify - typically at or below 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Please contact the organization before you visit the legal provider in person if possible. Due to the virus, all organizations are encouraging people to contact them over the telephone, or by applying for services online.
- SLLS has a COVID-19 Hotline you can access by calling 844-244-7871.
- If you don't qualify for free legal services, you may qualify for the Modest Means Directory. You may also be able to submit a question and get legal advice online through the Louisiana Free Legal Answers program.
- If your income is still too high for the Modest Means Directory or Louisiana Free Legal Answers, you'll need to find a private attorney through the Louisiana State Bar Association.
How can I watch out for scams?
Avoid coronavirus scams
- COVID-19 vaccines are free. If anyone charges you for help signing up or the shot itself, it’s a scam.
- You can’t buy the COVID-19 vaccine anywhere. It’s only available at federal- and state-approved locations.
- Always talk with your doctor or healthcare professional before you try any product claiming to treat, prevent, or cure COVID-19.
- Don’t post your vaccination card to your social media account. Someone could use the information for identity theft.
- Right now, there are no official plans to create a national vaccine verification app or certificate or passport.
- If someone asks you for personal information or money to get a national vaccine certificate or passport, that’s a scam.
- Contact your state government(link is external) about its vaccine verification plans and requirements.
- Check with airlines, cruise lines, and event venues about their vaccine verification or negative testing requirements.
- When you’re looking for pandemic-related help, start with sites like coronavirus.gov and usa.gov/coronavirus.
In times of widespread distress, we often see widespread scams as well. Here are some scams you should avoid during the Covid-19 pandemic:
- Social Security: There have been fraudulent letters threatening suspension of Social Security benefits due to COVID-19-related office closures. Social Security will not suspend or discontinue benefits because our offices are closed to walk-in visitors. Read more about Social Security Scams.
- Medicare: Scammers are offering unapproved and illegitimate COVID-19 tests to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for personal details, including Medicare information. Learn about this and other COVID-19 fraud from HHS.
- Phone Scams Related to the Economic Impact Payment (Stimulus): The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is alerting people about various COVID-19-related fraud and scams. From contact tracing scams to treatment claims, government imposter scams, and fraud related to economic impact payments, learn about all COVID-19-related fraud and scams at ftc.gov/coronavirus/resources and report the scams you see at ftc.gov/complaint. Visit Treasury’s website if you suspect economic impact payment fraud.
- Remember: No government agency will contact you offering COVID-19-related grants or economic impact payments in exchange for personal financial information, an advance fee, or gift cards. Please do not respond. These are scams.
Common Characteristics of Scams and Methods Used by Scammers
- "Phishing" attempts through email, where the sender uses links to either infect your computer with a virus or malware or tries to steal your personal information and possibly your identity
- Never click links from people you don't know. Even if you think you know the person, be 100% sure it's from the right e-mail address. Scammers are getting more sophisticated and can mask their email address with the names of your family and friends
- Price gouging
- It is illegal for someone to increase the price of goods or services during (and up to 30 days after) a state of emergency
- Charity scams and fake online fundraising through crowdsourcing sites
- Do your research before donating to any charities claiming to be providing services for coronavirus victims. Only donate to reputable programs
- Many people will try to make money from good people online through fake charity campaigns on sites like "GoFundMe." It can be impossible to know if their stories are real or not, but be careful and aware of this possibility
- Medical misinformation and vaccine and/or COVID-19 testing offers
- There are currently no approved vaccines for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
- In some states, scammers are going door-to-door claiming they can test you for the virus and prescribe medication. This is completely false and illegal. They may also call you claiming similar things
- Antibody test scams are also circulating. You should only seek antibody tests from your medical provider or blood donation centers that offer these tests.
- Social media misinformation
- It is very easy to spread misinformation and lies about government actions, cures, investment "opportunities", and more on social media. Do your research on things you see on sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit before taking those claims seriously. Only trust official government notices and reputable news sources
How can I report a scam?
You can report scams and price gouging to the Louisiana Department of Justice at 1-800-351-4889 or at https:www.ag.state.la.us/Page/ConsumerDispute.
Are courts open?
In-Person Hearings / Proceedings are Resuming
- In-person hearings are resuming in all Louisiana courts.
- When you go to court, you can expect to see measures taken to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. This includes enforcing social distancing and increased sanitation. Some courthouses may require temperature checks at the door.
- Some courts may still use telephone or video conferencing to hold hearings without in-person attendance. If you have an upcoming court date, call your court to get the most up-to-date information on whether the hearing will go forward as scheduled or whether any changes, like video or audio conferencing, will be in place.
- Check the Louisiana Supreme Court page to see which courts have made changes to their regular operations.