On Wednesday, the FBI gave a warning with regards to the public health and economic fallout caused by COVID-19. He said they are “providing criminals with illicit opportunities at ‘breathtaking’ speed,” as reported by Fox News.
In a press release, the FBI said “the COVID-19 pandemic provides criminal opportunities on a scale likely to dwarf anything seen before. The speed at which criminals are devising and executing their schemes is truly breathtaking.”
Law enforcement discovered “offers of sham treatments and vaccines, bogus investment opportunities” from medical companies that don’t exist. They also discovered “calls from crooks impersonating doctors demanding payment for treatments,” as per the statement.
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They added that scammers are targeting websites and mobile apps that track the spread of the virus. In such cases, they use viruses to place malware and steal sensitive information. Scammers even pose as national and global health authorities such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
The FBI explains that most dangerously, criminals are taking advantage of the pandemic. They use it to “deploy ransomware, malicious software designed to lock a computer system until a ransom is paid.”
FBI: Be Wary of These Crimes
#FBI and @SecretService Working Against COVID-19 Threats: "As the U.S. and the world grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, a related crisis has simultaneously emerged: a wave of criminals seeking to prey upon an anxious public." Read the full op-ed at https://t.co/VNOhlAB2Qw. pic.twitter.com/JJOTEOFIB1
— FBI Dallas (@FBIDallas) April 17, 2020
Additionally, the FBI suspects that the criminals could devise schemes to draw off funds from the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
The FBI assured the public and said that Americans should “take solace that law enforcement, at all levels, has swiftly and uniformly recognized this threat. We are marshaling our collective resources to fight back.”
The FBI concluded the press release with a note to the criminals. They said: “We in law enforcement may be practicing social distancing, but we are by no means sitting idly by. We are working aggressively to enforce the law and are devoting unprecedented resources to pursuing those who seek to undermine the nation’s response effort.”