DATELINE – U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert of the District of the Virgin Islands today urged the public to report suspected fraud schemes related to COVID-19 (the Coronavirus). If you think you are a victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, you can report it without leaving your home by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at (1-866-720-5721) or by utilizing the newly released NCDF Complaint Form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form. In coordination with the Department of Justice, Attorney General William Barr has directed U.S. Attorneys to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of Coronavirus fraud schemes identified in their communities.
U.S. Attorney Shappert emphasized the continuing importance of individual reporting of possible fraud schemes. “The NCDF has already received over 11,500 calls and emails, reporting possible COVID-19 fraud schemes. The new NCDF Complaint Form allows for more efficient reporting and a more prompt response by federal law enforcement,” Shappert said. “We believe that this is another important tool in our toolbox.”
The NCDF receives and enters complaints into a centralized system that can be accessed by all U.S. Attorney Offices, as well as Justice Department litigating and law enforcement components to identify, investigate, and prosecute fraud schemes. The NCDF coordinates complaints with 16 additional federal law enforcement agencies, as well as state Attorneys General and local authorities. The public is urged to provide information so that the NCDF and federal law enforcement can conduct the necessary investigations.
Scammers and fraudsters will likely continue to use new methods to exploit COVID-19 fraud schemes worldwide. Stay alert and stay informed about common fraud schemes related to the COVID-19 Pandemic. To find more about Department of Justice resources and information, please visit www.justice.gov/coronavirus.