The latest North Dakota coronavirus news: scams, flood loans and more.
Surge in scams
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem on Wednesday warned that scam artists are profiting from unsuspecting elderly North Dakotans during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Consumer Protection Division of his office is seeing a noticeable increase of elderly victims who have lost money to sweepstakes scams, he said. In each case, the victim received a robocall or live call about a purported prize and was talked into sending money before he or she could receive the so-called winnings.
“Our older citizens, many of whom live alone, have become even more isolated during the current pandemic, and that is making them an easy 'mark' for scam artists,” Stenehjem said.
One 88-year-old victim lost $8,750. A 76-year old woman lost $4,000. One 73-year old man lost $12,900. All of the recent victims lived alone.
“Social isolation is a boon for scam artists. If you have an elderly family member or neighbor, please warn them about these robocalls scams and remind them that no matter what they are told, they should never agree to send money in response to a call,” Stenehjem said.
More information can be found at https://attorneygeneral.nd.gov/consumer-resources/common-scams, or by calling the Consumer Protection Division at 800-472-2600.
Rebuilders Loans deferred
The state-owned Bank of North Dakota in conjunction with local financial institutions is allowing any borrower who received a Rebuilders Loan after 2011 spring flooding to defer payments for six months.
Nearly 1,350 families whose homes were impacted by flooding took advantage of the home loan at a 1% interest rate. More than $35 million was funded, with 95% of the loans made in the Minot area, which was hit by Souris River flooding. The balance of the loans was in Bismarck and Mandan, where Missouri River flooding was an issue that year.
“We greatly appreciate our local lenders for working with us to meet borrower needs,” Bank of North Dakota President Eric Hardmeyer said in a statement. “This is one more way the state can alleviate financial stress for some residents.”
Borrowers who want to take advantage of the Rebuilders Loan deferment should contact the local lender with whom they have the loan.
Federal court changes
Peter Welte, chief judge of U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota, has authorized the use of video conferencing or telephone conferencing for various types of court appearances.
His administrative order comes in the wake of Congress passing legislation authorizing the use of video and telephone conferencing during the coronavirus emergency.
The order impacts numerous types of hearings, including initial appearances, preliminary hearings, arraignments, and some pleas and sentencings. It’s in place until June 28.
More information can be found at: https://www.ndd.uscourts.gov/announce/COVID-19%20video.pdf.
North Dakota virus numbers
North Dakota has 147 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 32 in Burleigh County and 14 in Morton County. There have been 26 hospitalizations statewide, 39 recoveries and three deaths. State and private labs have conducted 4,627 total tests, with 4,480 coming back negative.
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