Scammers prey on people’s fears during pandemic

Local News
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NATIONAL (WCIA) — Not everyone has stopped working full-time during the global COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. Attorney John Milhiser, Central District of Illinois, wants the public to know scammers are still out in force trying to separate you from your money.

The latest ruse preys on people’s anxieties and fears surrounding the public health crisis, especially those who are most vulnerable.

“We are fortunate to live in communities of people who are generous and caring toward others; however, there are those who use crisis situations to exploit and incite people’s fear and vulnerabilities to do harm,” stated Milhiser. “It is a top priority of this office, in partnership with our local, state and federal law enforcement counterparts, to detect, investigate, and prosecute anyone who attempts to take advantage of the anxieties and uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic to defraud others. It is a top priority to find these bad actors, stop them, prosecute them, and protect the citizens of Central Illinois.”

People can report suspected or attempted fraud to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF). It’s a national clearinghouse for the Department of Justice to receive and coordinate complaints with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Examples of current fraudulent and criminal behavior include:

  • Robocall offers to sell respiratory masks with no intent of delivery
  • Social media sites seeking donations or claiming to provide stimulus funds if the recipient enters his or her bank account information
  • Sales of counterfeit or fake testing kits, cures, ‘immunity’ pills and protective equipment
  • Offers for free COVID-19 testing to obtain Medicare beneficiary information then used to submit false medical claims for unrelated, unnecessary or fictitious testing or services

NCDF
(866) 720 – 5721

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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