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April 2, 2020
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As you’d imagine, scams or warning about possible scams related to virus issues have just exploded. It is often hard to tell how many of these are wide- spread and organized fraud efforts. But complaints to BBB and law enforcement have gone up significantly, and patterns are emerging. Scammers are continuing unabated. Obviously this is a priority area right now for enforcers and other fraud fighters.
Because so many alerts and press reports right now are of doubtful assistance it would not be useful to have all of these included in the Fraud Report. So I’ll try to include the most important and relevant news from around the world.
Coronavirus Police in Turkey arrest five, seize 1 million counterfeit masksUK’s Action Fraud says virus scam complaints went up 400% in March; explains scams they are seeingCanadian prime minister warns of scams exploiting emergency government benefitsSocial Security warns letters are going out, supposedly from SSA, threatening to suspend benefits; has victims call a number, often asks them to buy gift cardsFormer federal prosecutor says DOJ hasn’t taken financial fraud seriously; not prepared to deal with coronavirus scamsMichigan Attorney General sends cease and desist letter to company selling patch to prevent virusSouthern California district attorneys set up task forces, scam hotlines, to deal with virus fraudCrooks hijacking routers, redirecting web traffic to coronavirus scam sites; most common in the U.S., France, and German; use sites to infect readers with malware
Two tips of the week: 1) Reports are that lots of complaints and problems are coming up from canceled travel and events with people looking for refunds, and 2) Those who address price gouging should know that with lots of scientific research demand for eggs the price of those is going up rapidly, and 3) My friend and former colleague at the FTC, John Singer, has developed a powerpoint on coronavirus scams he wants to share. Contact John at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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