Crisis situations tend to bring out the best in most people, as they turn to neighbors, friends, family and even strangers to lend a helping hand. But crisis situations also tend to bring out those less than scrupulous individual who are looking to make a fast buck. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Western Illinois University Office of Public Safety (OPS) wants to remind the WIU community to be wary of “too good to be true” offers and solutions.
If you see attempted fraud of others or if you or a loved one become a victim of such fraud, please report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline at (866) 720-5721, or email [email protected] The NCDF serves as a national clearinghouse for the Department of Justice to receive and coordinate complaints with federal, state and local law enforcement authorities. The Office of Public Safety can also be reached at (309) 298-1949.
Throughout the country, U.S. Attorney’s Offices have received reports of individuals and businesses engaging in a wide range of fraudulent and criminal behavior, including the following:
• Robocalls making fraudulent offers to sell respiratory masks with no intent of delivery;
• Social media scams fraudulently seeking donations or claiming to provide stimulus funds if the recipient enters his or her bank account information;
• Sales of counterfeit or fake testing kits, cures, ‘immunity’ pills and protective equipment;
• Fraudulent offers for free COVID-19 testing to obtain Medicare beneficiary information that is used to submit false medical claims for unrelated, unnecessary or fictitious testing or services.