WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Justice Department asked U.S. attorney’s offices across the country to focus on investigating fraud and scams related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Carolina launched a strike team and is warning the public about online scams.
Peter McCoy has been the U.S. attorney for the District of South Carolina for just one week.
“We’re seeing folks that are out there taking advantage of people while they’re scared,” he said.
McCoy set up a special strike team to focus on crimes related to the coronavirus.
“You’re going to probably see these things popping up in districts all across the nation,” he said.
Because people all around the country are spending more time at home, they’re also spending more time online and on social media—which makes them more likely to encounter online scams.
McCoy said scammers are using language like, “Hey, I’ve got test kids that are out here, send me your information and send me this much money and we’ll send you the kit.”
The FDA has not approved an at-home coronavirus test and there is not yet a vaccine. Scammers are also selling in-demand products like hand sanitizer and masks “with no intention on delivery,” according to McCoy, because they don’t actually have the supplies.
Suspected fraud can be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud by calling 866.720.5721 or emailing email@example.com
The information will be investigated and compiled into a national database.