The Department of Justice issued a press release today announcing that it “has disrupted hundreds of internet domains used to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to commit fraud and other crimes.”
The presser notes that the FBI has received thousands of tips related to COVID-19 scams from websites advertising fake vaccines and treatments, fake charity drives, or that were posing as COVID-19 content in order to distribute malware. As specific examples, the presser noted a website pretending to collect donations for the Red Cross’s COVID-19 efforts and a website requesting personal identifying information in connection with government relief programs.
The efforts follow guidance issued in March directing federal law enforcement and prosecutors to identify COVID-19-related scams. That memo directed prosecutors to consider charges including wire and mail fraud, computer fraud, healthcare fraud, identity fraud, counterfeit goods trafficking, misbranded drugs violations, and price-gouging charges.
Read the DOJ’s press release here.
Read the DOJ’s memo here.