SAG-AFTRA Issues Urgent Warning Against Coronavirus Scams

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The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) is warning its members of widespread fundraising scams, which are being perpetrated by third parties who claim to be assisting those in the union.

According to an “urgent notice” posted to the SAG-AFTRA website today, union higher-ups have “become aware of fraudulent fundraising efforts posted online at various sites.” To lend additional credibility to the schemes, some fraudsters have gone as far as doctoring SAG-AFTRA’s official logo.

SAG-AFTRA’s statement went on to indicate that “no SAG-AFTRA authorized fundraising effort will ask you for a donation to support SAG-AFTRA members via an online petition site,” and that any and all fundraisers hosted outside the SAG-AFTRA platform are scams. The union also requested that fundraising schemes be reported at once, by calling (855) SAG-AFTRA.

Lastly, the union’s message stated that those who wish to support SAG-AFTRA members amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may forward their contributions to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, a genuine charitable organization.

SAG-AFTRA represents approximately 160,000 entertainment professionals, including actors, dancers, DJs, recording artists, and more.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on the entertainment industry. Live Nation has indefinitely postponed its upcoming events, and a variety of much-anticipated festivals and conferences, including Coachella and SXSW, have been cancelled or delayed.

Over the weekend, Universal Music Group (UMG) CEO Lucian Grainge tested positive for COVID-19. Actors Tom Hanks, Idris Elba, and Kristofer Hivju, who starred in HBO’s Game of Thrones, have also come public with their COVID-19 diagnoses. Grainge is receiving treatment in a hospital, Hanks is quarantining at an Australian treatment center, and both Elba and Hiyju are self-quarantining at home.

Today, President Trump said that he will work with Congress to pass an $850 billion stimulus package designed to counteract the economic damage inflicted by the coronavirus. Though the corresponding legislation hasn’t yet been completed, President Trump voiced his intention to distribute $1,000 checks to Americans sometime within the next two weeks, as part of the stimulus.

To date, approximately 195,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed.