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Combatting COVID-19 Fraud

If you receive emails, texts, or any forms of suspicious communication related to the COVID-19 crisis, or become aware of family and friends that have received suspicious communications, report the activity to the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 1-866-720-5721, or to the NCDF e-mail address or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at

What can a COVID-19 scam look like? 

Text of a Covid Fraud Scam
Don’t take the bait. Clicking on a link like this will download software onto your device, giving scammers access to your personal information. Ignore and delete these scam messages. 

Keep in mind:

  • COVID-19 vaccines are free. If anyone charges you for help signing up or the shot itself, it’s a scam.
  • You can’t buy the COVID-19 vaccine anywhere. It’s only available at federal and state approved locations.
  • Don’t post your vaccination card to your social media account. Someone could use the information for identity theft.
  • Make sure to purchase only FDA approved COVID-19 test kits from legitimate providers.
  • Scammers are sending COVID-19 at home test kits to Medicare beneficiaries and then billing Medicare for reimbursement. If you received COVID-19 test kits that you did not order, please report it.
  • Do not purchase or reproduce fake COVID-19 proof of vaccination cards, and do not fill-in blank vaccination cards with false information.
  • Do not provide personal, medical, or financial details to anyone in exchange for vaccine information and obtain vaccinations from trusted providers.
  • Be mindful of how you dispose of COVID-19 materials such as syringes, vials, vial container boxes, vaccination record cards, and shipment or tracking records. Improper disposal of these items could be used by bad actors to commit fraud.
  • Be aware of scammers pretending to be COVID-19 contact tracers. Legitimate contact tracers will never ask for your medical or financial information or attempt to set up a COVID-19 test.

Credit: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the Federal Trade Commission

Conduct to be reported

Where to report the conduct

Hoarding or price-gouging of non-medical items

Contact your local law enforcement agency on a non-emergency line or your state attorney general’s office.  For your state attorney general’s contact information, please visit and choose your state from the list.

Fraud related to Medicare or Medicaid, including coronavirus testing or treatment fraud

Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline at

Fraud related to a US Treasury COVID-19 relief check

Department of Treasury OIG Hotline at

Fraud related to Disaster Food Stamps, or D-SNAP, including those distributed due to the coronavirus

Department of Agriculture OIG Hotline at

Online fraud and other cybercrimes

Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at

FEMA fraud other than disaster fraud involving any FEMA program

Department of Homeland Security OIG Hotline at

Fraud related to the Small Business Administration

Small Business Administration OIG Hotline at

Unemployment benefit fraud

Department of Labor OIG Hotline at


On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID‑19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit

Relevant Press: 

Updated September 13, 2023