U.S. Attorney in Milwaukee warns of COVID-19 scams

Posted at 10:24 AM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 11:24:25-04

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin is concerned with fraud and scams surrounding coronavirus, so he's assigned an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Milwaukee to deal exclusively with that problem.

U.S. Attorney Matthew Krueger reports scammers are playing on people's fears, and they're following multiple tips into his office already.

Many of these types of scams start with a robocall.

"If you're getting robocalls, you should presume they're fake," Krueger advised. "The government is not going to contact you by a robocall."

Many of the scams via phone or email involve someone claiming to be from a government agency, like the IRS or the CDC. Some are promising COVID-19 testing for Medicare recipients, or access to cures that don't exist or supplies they won't deliver.

Krueger also said scammers are pretending to represent charities, or inventing them altogether.

A couple ways to see a rip-off coming, "If you're getting emails asking you to send directly, personal information, that's not a way that will happen," Krueger said. "Likewise, if you're asked to download things to your computer, that again is likely to be malware."

Krueger offered another tell-tale sign you're dealing with a dishonest actor, "If you're getting pressure to act quickly, that's also not how government agencies will interact with you."

If you suspect a scammer is contacting you, the U.S. Attorney's Office wants to hear about it. Here's the hot line number, (866) 720-5721, or click here.

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