U.S. Attorney Urges the Public to Report Suspected COVID-19 Fraud
St. Louis – U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen of the Eastern District of Missouri today urged 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 contacting the NCDF e-mail address email@example.com.
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. The NCDF Hotline 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.
“My office will continue to work with federal, state and local law enforcement to protect zealously the public from fraudsters who try to take advantage of a vulnerable time for our nation,” said U.S. Attorney Jensen. “A national crisis is in no way a safe harbor for criminal activity.”
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.
In connection with a memorandum to U.S. Attorneys issued March 19 by Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, the United States Attorney’s Office has appointed a Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator to serve as the legal counsel for the Eastern District of Missouri on matters relating to the Coronavirus, and to direct the prosecution of Coronavirus-related crimes. Anyone with such information concerning such matters is encouraged to contact the United States Attorney’s Office immediately.