Last week the Justice Department issued an update on its ongoing operations against individuals and entities who are allegedly using the opportunity of the COVID-19 pandemic to engage in fraudulent activity on the Internet, noting that its specially-created task force has reviewed thousands of complaints to date.
Through last Tuesday the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has reviewed over 3,600 complaints lodged against websites allegedly engaged in all manner of fraudulent activity. Among the misdeeds alleged by the complainants are ineffective vaccines and cures, fraudulent charity drives, malware, and websites spoofing legitimate government websites related to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Justice Department provided several examples of the complaints it has taken on in the past few months. One website under investigation allegedly claimed to be collecting money for pandemic relief on behalf of the American Red Cross. Another site investigated by the task force allegedly spoofed domains that resembled the site established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) dedicated to issuing stimulus checks that solicited personal information ostensibly for use in identity theft.
In addition to enforcement actions, the Justice Department says it has been training investigative bodies in other countries on methods for identifying and stopping scams and fraudulent activity related to the coronavirus outbreak via the International Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (ICHIP) program. It has also cooperated with law enforcement in other countries in investigating alleged fraud, including assisting the Brazilian government in shutting down a website that was allegedly infecting computer systems that visited the page with malware.
The Law Offices of Bjorn Brunvand have been representing people charged with capital murder, felony drug charges, drunk driving, government fraud, and white-collar crimes for over a quarter century. Contact our office today to discuss your Tampa Bay-area state or federal charges.