Riverside County DA sets up hotline to report price gouging during COVID-19 crisis

A senior wears a face mask while shopping for groceries during special hours open to seniors and the disabled only. ( Mario Tama/Getty Images )

The District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation in Riverside County has set up a hotline number to report suspect price gouging during the current COVID-19 crisis.

Anyone who believes a person or business may be price gouging can call the Consumer Protection Price Gouging Hotline at 951-955-0764.

Price gouging may also be reported by submitting a complaint form at https://rivcoda.org/Portals/0/PDF/SPS_ComplaintForm.pdf?ver=2018-10-24-111027-957 or at the California State General's Office at https://oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-business-or-company.

Price gouging is illegal and takes place when a person or business tries to take advantage of consumers by raising prices more than 10 percent for essential goods and services, such as toiletries, sanitary products, medicine, pet essentials, food, water, lodging, diapers and other medical and emergency supplies, during a declared state of emergency.

RELATED: CoronavirusNOW.com, FOX launches national hub for COVID-19 news and updates.

A state of emergency was declared by Gov. Newsom on March 4, 2020.

Those who price gouge face criminal prosecution that can lead to up to a year in county jail or fines up to $10,000, and can include civil penalties and restitution to victims.

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