COVID-19 Fraud Cases are Coming: What To Expect
Healthcare fraud costs American taxpayers billions of dollars every year. With the widespread coronavirus pandemic, it is expected that much of the fraud in 2020 will be related to the COVID-19 crisis.
But what will COVID-19 fraud look like?
What we’re already seeing
This spring, the United States Department of Justice put out a press release encouraging people to pass on any information they have about COVID-19 scams to the National Center for Disease Fraud (NCDF). As of late March, federal authorities had already announced their first enforcement actions, which involved shutting down the operation of a website that sold fake “vaccine kits” for the COVID-19 virus.
Several days later, the New Jersey branch of the FBI submitted a criminal complaint against a person who was promoting fraudulent COVID-19 test kits, violating the Federal Anti-Kickback Act and committing healthcare fraud, both of which are considered felonies with a strong likelihood of imprisonment.
With these early cases in mind, as well as what we’ve seen transpire since then, these are some of the red flags that could indicate forms of COVID-19 fraud:
- Shady websites promising cures for COVID-19
- Phishing emails from parties posing as the CDC or WHO
- Donation solicitations for non-existent charitable organizations
- Apps or websites that appear to share COVID-19 information that are designed to gain access to your devices to force payment
- Doctors using patient information for COVID-19 testing then using that information to bill for other types of procedures or tests
- Scammers urging people to reserve vaccines for COVID-19 with credit cards
- Social media promotions claiming products or services are designed to treat or cure COVID-19
For more information about the steps you should take if you believe you’ve come across an instance of COVID-19-related fraud, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.