SANTA FE (KSMX)- The U.S. Attorney’s office has released an official statement warning the public about possible scams and fraudulent companies amidst the novel coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson of the District of New Mexico has urged the public to report suspected fraud schemes related to COVID-19 by contacting the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline (1-866-720-5721) or the NCDF e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.
“As communities throughout our country and New Mexico work together in unprecedented ways to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 public health crisis, the public should be alert that, regrettably, there are also a few criminally minded individuals who view this crisis as an opportunity for profit. The U.S. Attorney’s Office urges New Mexicans to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity that they think might be a COVID-19-related fraud scheme. And those who would seek to profit from this crisis by defrauding members of the public should be on notice that federal authorities are ready to aggressively prosecute such crimes to the full extent of the law.”
In coordination with the Department of Justice, Attorney General William Barr has directed U.S. Attorneys to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of Coronavirus fraud schemes.
Some examples of these schemes include:
- 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 Coronavirus-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.