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Posted Monday, March 30th, 2020

Morris Residents Advised to Use Hotline to Report Fraud and Scams

A joint federal-state task force has been created to investigate and prosecute a wide range of misconduct arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Fraud Task Force Set Up in N.J. -- Hoarding, Price Gouging, Scams Targeted

The task force will probe unlawful hoarding of medical supplies, price gouging, charity scams, procurement fraud, insurance fraud, phishing schemes, and false and misleading investment opportunities.

The New Jersey COVID-19 Fraud Task Force will marshal the collective investigative power of federal and state law enforcement agencies to address fraud complaints. Also, the Task Force will share information publicly about common frauds so individuals and businesses can better protect themselves.

Residents are encouraged to report possible misconduct through a National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline at (866) 720-5721 or [email protected]. Complainants may remain anonymous.

The Task Force, announced today by U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, and New Jersey Acting State Comptroller Kevin D. Walsh, warned New Jerseyans about the most common types of COVID-related frauds and misconduct, including:

  • Unlawful hoarding
  • Price-gouging
  • Treatment scams
  • Supply scams
  • Provider scams
  • Charity scams
  • Phishing scams
  • App scams
  • Investment scams

The Task Force urges everyone to avoid scams by taking the following steps:

  • Independently verify the identity of any company, charity, or person that contacts you regarding COVID-19.
  • Check websites and email addresses offering information, products, or services related to COVID-19. Scammers often employ addresses that differ only slightly from those belonging to the entities they are impersonating. For example, they might use “cdc.com” or “cdc.org” instead of “cdc.gov.”
  • Be wary of unsolicited emails offering information, supplies, or treatment for COVID-19 or requesting personal information for medical purposes.
  • Do not click on links or open email attachments from unknown or unverified sources.
  • Make sure anti-malware and anti-virus software on your computer is up to date.
  • Ignore offers for a COVID-19 vaccine, cure, or treatment.
  • Check online reviews of any company offering COVID-19 products or supplies.
  • Research any charities or crowdfunding sites soliciting donations in connection with COVID- 19 before giving. An organization may not be legitimate even if it uses words like “CDC” or “government” in its name or has reputable looking seals or logos.
  • Be wary of any business, charity, or individual requesting payments or donations in cash, by wire transfer, gift card, or through the mail.
  • Be cautious of “investment opportunities” tied to COVID-19, especially those based on claims that a small company’s products or services can help stop the virus.