Justice Department leaders say they are focusing on efforts to stop coronavirus fraud. In a memo to U.S. attorneys, Attorney General Bill Barr wrote that they have seen reports of phishing emails pretending to be from the CDC and of people selling fake cures for Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. “The pandemic is dangerous enough without wrongdoers seeking to profit from public panic and this sort of conduct cannot be tolerated,” Barr wrote.
And in a memo sent the next week, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said the country faces “an unfortunate array of criminal activity” regarding the pandemic, which is “reprehensible and will not be tolerated.” He listed a variety of reported frauds: robocalls claiming to sell non-existent respirator masks, social media scams claiming to send people relief checks if they share their bank account numbers, even robberies of people leaving hospitals.
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NEW from @tina_nguyen (with a little help from me): “In recent weeks, the Food and Drug Administration, working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, has found thousands of coronavirus tests and masks that, once inspected, turned out to be bootleg.” https://t.co/Lilfr5rRh8
— Daniel Lippman (@dlippman) April 11, 2020