Crime

Detroit U.S. Attorney Warns of COVID-19 Fraud, Including Fake Apps


March 31, 2020, 1:05 PM


Matthew Schneider

In times of crisis, fraudsters come out.

Detroit U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider warns about pandemic-related swindles surfacing nationwide. The heads-up comes in a press release Tuesday to help state and local law enforcement identify cases for possible federal civil action or criminal prosecution.

Examples:

  • Robocalls with offers to sell respiratory masks that never arrive.

  • Fake COVID-related apps and websites that install malware or ransomware.

  • Phishing emails asking for money or presenting malware.

  • Social media scams fraudulently seeking donations or claiming to provide stimulus funds if the recipient enters his or her bank account number.

  • Sales of fake testing kits, cures, “immunity” pills, and protective equipment.

  • Fraudulent offers for free COVID-19 tests to get Medicare beneficiary information that is used to submit false medical claims for unrelated, unnecessary, or fictitious testing or services.

  • Prescription schemes involving claims for unnecessary antiretroviral treatments or other drugs that are marketed as purported cures.

Additionally, Schneider warns law enforcers about:

  •  Robberies of patients leaving hospitals or doctors' offices.

  •  Threats of violence against mayors and other public officials.

  •  Threats to intentionally infect other people.

  •  Hate crimes against people with Asian heritage.



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