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DOJ, U.S. Attorney urge people to report suspected COVID-19 fraud schemes

DOJ, U.S. Attorney urge people to report suspected COVID-19 fraud schemes

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Scales of Justice (copy)

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Madison is urging the public to report suspected fraud schemes related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Scott C. Blader, U.S. attorney of the Western District of Wisconsin, said his office will work with federal, state and local law enforcement to investigate all claims. 

"Those who take advantage of this crisis to engage in fraud schemes will be held accountable for preying on our communities," he said.

All U.S. attorneys will be prioritizing the investigation and prosecution of coronavirus schemes, a move directed by Attorney General William Barr and the Department of Justice.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chadwick Elgersma was appointed as the Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator for the Western District of Wisconsin to serve as legal counsel on coronavirus cases and conduct outreach and awareness activities.

Examples of fraud schemes include:

  • Individuals and businesses selling fake cures for COVID-19 online.
  • Phishing emails from entities posing as public health authorities.
  • Seeking donations for illegitimate or nonexistent charitable causes.
  • Websites and apps that appear to share coronavirus-related information to gain access to personal devices and lock them until payment is received. 
  • Medical providers obtaining patient information for COVID-19 testing and using the information to bill for other tests and procedures. 

Suspected fraud can be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud by calling 866-720-5721 or emailing disaster@leo.gov.

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