Publisher's note: This informational nugget was sent to me by Ben Shapiro, who represents the Daily Wire, and since this is one of the most topical news events, it should be published on BCN.
The author of this post is Hank Berrien.
On Sunday, the Department of Justice announced it had obtained a temporary restraining order against a website accused of wire fraud because it offered non-existent vaccines to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The website, "coronavirusmedicalkit.com," claimed to offer access to World Health Organization vaccine kits for a $4.95 shipping charge; the DOJ asserted no such vaccine yet exists, as UPI
, as UPI pointed out, Attorney General William Barr instructed Americans to report suspected fraud schemes trying to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic
The DOJ stated:
- Information published on the website claimed to offer consumers access to World Health Organization (WHO) vaccine kits in exchange for a shipping charge of $4.95, which consumers would pay by entering their credit card information on the website. In fact, there are currently no legitimate COVID-19 vaccines and the WHO is not distributing any such vaccine. In response to the department's request, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman issued a temporary restraining order requiring that the registrar of the fraudulent website immediately take action to block public access to it.
Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice's Civil Division said, "The Department of Justice will not tolerate criminal exploitation of this national emergency for personal gain. We will use every resource at the government's disposal to act quickly to shut down these most despicable of scammers, whether they are defrauding consumers, committing identity theft, or delivering malware."
U.S. Attorney John F. Bash of the Western District of Texas added, "Attorney General Barr has directed the department to prioritize fraud schemes arising out of the coronavirus emergency. We therefore moved very quickly to shut down this scam. We hope in the future that responsible web domain registrars will quickly and effectively shut down websites designed to facilitate these scams. My office will continue to be aggressive in targeting these sorts of despicable frauds for the duration of this emergency."
Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs of the FBI's San Antonio Field Office echoed, "At a time when we face such unprecedented challenges with the COVID-19 crisis, Americans are understandably desperate to find solutions to keep their families safe and healthy. Fraudsters who seek to profit from their fear and uncertainty, by selling bogus vaccines or cures, not only steal limited resources from our communities, they pose an even greater danger by spreading misinformation and creating confusion. During this difficult time, protecting our communities from these reprehensible fraud schemes will remain one of the FBI's highest priorities."
The Department of Justice recommends that Americans "independently verify the identity of any company, charity, or individual that contacts you regarding COVID-19."
It also warns that scammers might try to trick consumers by using web addresses such as "cdc.com" or "cdc.org" instead of "cdc.gov." The DOJ added, "Ignore offers for a COVID-19 vaccine, cure, or treatment. Remember, if a vaccine becomes available, you won't hear about it for the first time through an email, online ad, or unsolicited sales pitch."
The DOJ instructed, "For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, consumers may visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WHO websites."