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As we navigate this health crisis together, I want to be as accessible as possible for your questions. Every Friday at 12 pm, I will be live on Facebook to chat about what the state is doing to combat Covid 19. Join me! 

Hate Crimes Against Asian Pennsylvanians

Alarmed by disturbing warnings that racist attacks on Asian Americans are increasing in Pennsylvania and across America during the coronavirus crisis, I joined a group of Pennsylvania lawmakers, the Pennsylvania State Police and other stakeholders today held a press conference to alert the public and to urge vigilance against this rising evil.

Senator Jay CostaCrimes against anyone based in their race, creed, gender, country of origin or sexual orientation are absolutely unacceptable. There is no place for discrimination in Pennsylvania at any time. But as we are in the midst of a public health crisis, we need now more than ever to work together and support each other as best we can.

In addition to warnings from the Pennsylvania State Police, earlier this week the FBI warned that hate crime incidents against Asian Americans likely will surge across the United States, based on the assumption that a portion of the US public will mistakenly associate COVID-19 with China and Asian American populations.

Our laws are inadequate to track, prevent and punish hate crimes, and we’ve put together a package of legislation along with some of our colleagues to address that.

We’ve introduced legislation that would:

  • Provide the Attorney General with Concurrent Jurisdiction in Crimes Involving Ethnic Intimidation

  • Require Hate Crimes Offenders to Complete Diversity Classes and Allowing Community Impact Statements

  • Mandate MPOETC Training on Investigating, Identifying and Reporting Crimes of Ethnic Intimidation

  • Create a Private Right of Action for Civil Rights Violation

  • Institute a Reporting System for Postsecondary Institutions

  • Begin a hate groups database

Beware of Covid-themed Scams

The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities is warning folks against Covid-19 related scams. the department warn investors to be on the lookout for investments specifically tied to the threat of COVID-19, such as:

  • Falsely purporting to raise capital for companies manufacturing surgical masks and gowns; producing ventilators and medical equipment; or manufacturing vaccines or other miracle cures.

  • Taking advantage of concerns with securities market volatility to promote “safe” investments with “guaranteed returns” including investments tied to gold and other commodities; oil and gas; and real estate.

  • Touting “get rick quick” schemes with quickly earned returns to be used for rent, utilities, and other expenses.

  • Targeting retirees and senior citizens, falsely claiming they can quickly and safely recoup any losses to their retirement portfolios.

Retail investors must remain vigilant and protect themselves from schemes such as these tied to COVID-19 and recent economic developments

  • investigate Before You InvestInvestigate Before You Invest. Before spending any time and money on a financial service, product, or company, investigate before you invest. Investors can visit the DoBS website for tools and resources for researching financial professionals, investments, and companies.

  • Avoid Phishing Scams. Scam emails are made to sound and look real. Never open an attachment or link from an unsolicited email and never share financial or sensitive information without independently verifying the request.

  • Too Good to Be True. The old adage is accurate: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Ask questions about the investment and evaluate the risks. Any legitimate investment involves and degree of risk, and anyone unwilling to provide clear and detailed information about an investment is a red flag.

  • Beware of Economic Relief Schemes. With news that the federal government will be sending checks to the public as part of an economic stimulus effort, scammers will no doubt increase efforts to steal your money. Do NOT give your personal information to anyone purporting to be from the government in relation to receiving a stimulus check. Likewise, anyone asking you to prepay taxes or fees on the money, or pay any type of charge, in order to receive the money is likely trying to defraud you

For more detailed information related to schemes to watch and tips for protecting yourself, the department has developed a guide for investors.

Visit the commonwealth's Responding to COVID-19 guide for the latest guidance and resources for Pennsylvanians or the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s dedicated coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.

Essential Business FAQ

Gov. WolfOn March 19, 2020, the Governor Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations. Enforcement actions against businesses that do not close physical locations began on Monday, March 23. Businesses that were ordered to close under this order and believe that they could help mitigate the COVID-19 crisis or provide essential services, have until Friday, April 3, 2020 at 5PM to apply for a Business Exemption Waiver. After that time, the submission period will be closed.

To report a noncompliant business, contact your local law enforcement agency’s non-emergency number. Please do not call 911 or the Department of Community and Economic Development to file reports.

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Offices to Serve You

  Forest Hills
1501 Ardmore Blvd. | Suite 403
Pittsburgh, PA 15221
Phone: (412) 241-6690
Fax: (412) 731-2332
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
2306 Brownsville Rd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15210
Phone: (412) 884-8308
Fax: (412) 886-2080
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
314 E. Eighth Ave.
Homestead, PA 15120
Phone: (412) 462-4204
Fax: (412) 462-4543
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Harrisburg Office
Senate Box 203043
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: (717) 787-7683
Fax: (717) 783-5976
8:30 am – 5:00 pm