The U.S. Department of Justice and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection are asking consumers to alert them to potential frauds surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. According to the DOJ, the following activities have been detected:
- 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.
Anyone who encounters these types of scams is urged to call the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline (1-866-720-5721) or to the NCDF e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is also accepting reports of suspected scams, fraud, false marketing claims — or other consumer complaints related to COVID-19 at its hotline: DATCPHotline@wisconsin.gov or (800) 422-7128. You can also file an online complaint here.
The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (wisconsinwatch.org) collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, PBS Wisconsin, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.