U.S. Attorney: Watch out for scammers exploiting people during pandemic
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister on Friday issued a reminder for Kansans to be vigilant against scam artists using the COVID-19 pandemic to exploit consumers and organizations and to cheat disaster relief programs.
In particular, McAllister is urging Kansans to watch out for scams using websites, social media, emails and robocalls to peddle fake COVID-19 vaccines, tests, treatments and protective equipment. Another threat comes with criminals fabricating businesses and stealing identifies in order to defraud federal relief programs and state unemployment programs.
“Thieves are trying to use the very real dangers of the pandemic to promote fear and confusion in an effort to fleece victims,” McAllister said. “I urge Kansans to review solicitations carefully. Be skeptical. If it sounds almost too good to be true, that is a red flag.”
To date, McAllister said the National Center for Disaster Fraud has received more than 76,000 tips concerning “COVID-19-related wrongdoing.” The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has also received more than 20,000 tips concerning suspicious websites and social media postings. From this, federal agencies have opened hundreds of cases, McAllister sid.
To report a scam relating to COVID-19, or if you have information on hoarding or price gouging of critical supplies necessary to respond to the spread of COVID-19, you can report it by calling the NCDF Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form, available at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
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