Attorney General William P. Barr is urging the public to report suspected fraud schemes related to COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline (1-866-720-5721) or by e-mailing the NCDF at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week, Attorney General Barr directed all U.S. Attorneys to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of Coronavirus-related fraud schemes. In a follow-up memorandum issued March 19, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen further directed each U.S. Attorney to appoint a Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator to serve as the legal counsel for the federal judicial district on matters relating to the Coronavirus, direct the prosecution of Coronavirus-related crimes, and to conduct outreach and awareness, the Justice Department reports.
In a time when not only our nation finds itself in a Pandemic that is causing coast-to-coast fears and heart break, the world is seeing loved ones lost to the virus and lock-downs that change peoples lives. Now here come the scum of society, the truly heartless and corrupt that want to use these very real circumstances to steal and con people out of money, money that everyone desperately needs to get through to the other side of this pandemic.
Be aware that criminals are attempting to exploit COVID-19 worldwide through a variety of scams. There have been reports of:
- Individuals and businesses selling fake cures for COVID-19 online and engaging in other forms of fraud.
- Phishing emails from entities posing as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Malicious websites and apps that appear to share virus-related information to gain and lock access to your devices until payment is received.
- Seeking donations fraudulently for illegitimate or non-existent charitable organizations.
- Medical providers obtaining patient information for COVID-19 testing and then using that information to fraudulently bill for other tests and procedures.
Criminals will likely continue to use new methods to exploit COVID-19 worldwide.
If you think you are a victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, you can report it without leaving your home through a number of platforms. Go to:
- Contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via email at email@example.com
- Report it to the FBI at tips.fbi.gov
- If it’s a cyber scam, submit your complaint through ic3.gov
The NCDF can receive and enter complaints into a centralized system that can be accessed by all U.S. Attorneys, as well as Justice Department litigating and law enforcement components to identify, investigate and prosecute fraud schemes. The NCDF coordinates complaints with 16 additional federal law enforcement agencies, as well as state Attorneys General and local authorities.
To find more about Department of Justice resources and information, please visit www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
We will do our best to stay on these as new ones are reported by the Justice Department, to keep you all updated so you can avoid being ripped off.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.
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Dean James at Right Wing Tribune