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Iowa authorities warn about coronavirus fraud

Iowa authorities warn about coronavirus fraud

From the Coronavirus update Northeast Iowa series
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Peter Deegan Jr.

Peter Deegan Jr.

WATERLOO – Authorities are warning residents to be cautious of scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There are people out there who will try and take advantage of COVID-19 for selfish financial benefit. I am asking everyone in our communities to stay vigilant and report suspected fraud,” said Peter E. Deegan Jr., U.S. Attorney for Iowa’s Northern District, which includes Waterloo. “We also all need to care for the most vulnerable citizens in our society and do our best to prevent them from becoming victims of unscrupulous criminals.”

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Deegan said schemes may involve people selling fake cures for COVID-19, phishing emails from entities posing as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Other examples included malicious websites and apps that appear to share Coronavirus-related information to gain and lock access to devices, pleas for donations for illegitimate or nonexistent charities, and medical providers obtaining patient information for testing and then using that information to fraudulently bill for other tests and procedures.

Deegan urged the public to report suspected fraud schemes related to COVID-19 by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud NCDF hotline (866) 720-5721) or to the NCDF e-mail address disaster@leo.gov .

To find more about Department of Justice resources and information, please visit www.justice.gov/coronavirus .

The warning came as the FBI reported a rise in coronavirus fraud.

FBI officials asked the public to use “good cyber hygiene” and security measures like not opening attachments or clicking on links in emails from senders they don’t recognize and not disclosing personal information or financial data in response to an email or robocall.

Residents should verify the web address of legitimate websites and manually type them into your browser and check for misspellings or wrong domains within a link.



Photos: Coronavirus threat impacts the Cedar Valley

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