Prosecutors from the United States Attorney’s Office, along with a special agent from the FBI, will participate in a telephone town hall coordinated through AARP to provide information to Arizona residents to help them identify and avoid fraudulent schemes, including scams related to COVID-19.
The telephone town hall is 10-11 a.m. Tuesday. During the event, an FBI special agent and two federal prosecutors will discuss various scams relating to COVID-19 and provide tips for avoiding them. A discussion about other scams targeting the elderly will also be highlighted.
Participants from Arizona will be allowed to ask questions during the presentation.
The AARP Fraud Watch Network is providing the infrastructure for the event. Around 100,000 AARP member households will receive a phone call Tuesday morning inviting them to participate in the town hall. Those who wish to receive an invitation can sign up online.
At 10 a.m. today, participants can join the call by dialing 877-299-8493 and entering the following ID: 114737#. Participants can also join the town hall via Facebook by going to @aarparizona to listen.
During the current health crisis, federal investigators and prosecutors continue to fulfill their critical mission of protecting public safety. Federal officials have prioritized the disruption, investigation and prosecution of crimes related to COVID-19, including fraudulent schemes, unapproved treatments, and scams related to stimulus money, according to a release. During the virtual town hall meeting, federal officials will discuss the types of schemes currently being seen, along with tips on how to avoid becoming a victim.
The FBI continues to warn the public about these schemes, some of which have already been seen in Arizona and other parts of the country:
Scammers are setting up websites, contacting people by phone and email, and posting disinformation on social media platforms;
Individuals and businesses selling fake cures for COVID-19 online;
Phishing emails from entities posing as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
Malicious websites and apps that appear to share Coronavirus-related information to gain and lock access to your devices until payment is received;
Seeking fraudulent donations for illegitimate or non-existent charitable organizations; and
Obtaining patient information for COVID-19 testing and then using that information to fraudulently bill for other tests and procedures.
If you think you are a victim of COVID-19 fraud, immediately report it the FBI at ic3.gov, tips.fbi.gov, or 1-800-CALL-FBI.
In addition, the public is urged to report suspected fraud schemes related to COVID-19 by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline at 1-866-720-5721.