Federal prosecutor named to lead fight against fraud related to COVID-19
A federal prosecutor has been named to lead the fight against fraud related to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Northern District of Illinois, U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch, Jr., announced Friday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tyler Murray, chief of the office's Financial Crimes Section, will serve as the COVID-19 fraud coordinator for the Northern District. Working with federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, Murray will coordinate and lead investigations and prosecutions of those who attempt to take advantage of people during this time of crisis.
To report fraud related to COVID-19, log on to the FBI's internet Crime Complaint Center at https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.
Lausch warned the public to be extra cautious about unscrupulous schemes, particularly online.
There have been reports locally and throughout the country of individuals and businesses selling fake cures or test kits for COVID-19 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 have been sent to unsuspecting residents.
Lausch offered these tips to help avoid scammers:
• Do not click on links from sources you don't know. These could be attempts to download viruses onto your computer or cellphone.
• Ignore online offers for vaccinations. There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure COVID-19.
• Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding websites. Do not let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone asks for a donation in cash, gift card, or wire transfer, do not do it.