La. US attorney urges citizens to report suspected COVID-19 fraud

US attorney's office targets fraud schemes during national crisis

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The US attorney for the middle district of Louisiana is urging people to report suspected fraud schemes related to the coronavirus.

US Attorney Brandon J. Fremin, who is also the executive director of the National Center for Disaster Fraud, released ways for people to let officials know about possible COVID-19 fraud.

You should call the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline at 1-866-720-5721. You can also send an email to disaster@leo.gov.

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“My office is committed to protecting the citizens of the Middle District during this unprecedented crisis and has made it a top priority to detect, investigate, and prosecute criminal conduct related to the current pandemic," said Fremin. "Always use extreme caution when providing personal identifying or financial information to anyone. I strongly encourage the public to report suspected coronavirus-related waste, fraud, abuse or allegations of criminal conduct by contacting the NCDF.”

Scheme Examples:

  • 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.

Fremin added Attorney General William Barr, in coordination with the Department of Justice, has directed US attorneys to put prioritize investigating and prosecuting fraud schemes related to the coronavirus.

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