Con artists taking advantage of coronavirus fears

Con artists taking advantage of coronavirus fears

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Scammers are unfortunately playing off people’s fears during the pandemic.

There are a number of new COVID-19-related scams, said Justin Herdman with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Many are targeting elderly and vulnerable people.

Some he’s seen circulating include scammers trying to solicit fraudulent donations for charitable causes and phone scams. For example, the scammer calls an elderly grandparent and tells them their grandson or daughter has coronavirus and they need money for treatment.

Herdman also warned against fake e-mails from the CDC. He said the CDC will not e-mail you. They’re also seeing people purporting to have a treatment for coronavirus.

Herdman said they offer some sort of fake medication for a cash payment. He said it’s unknown what they’re selling, but it definitely does not treat the virus.

“Anything that’s focused on actual provision of a medical service is very concerning to us. We’ve had some reports across the country of people offering fake tests targeting retirement homes where they would accept a cash payment and the tests are completely fraudulent,” he said.

Herdman said scammers should beware. “If you are engaged in one of these frauds or scams in a time like this you are absolutely going to get the scrutiny of law enforcement."

If you think you're being scammed or are contacted by anyone related to coronavirus services, Herdman said to take as many notes as you can and contact the National Disaster Fraud Center. The phone number is 866-720-5721

The e-mail is disaster@leo.gov

Copyright 2020 WOIO. All rights reserved.