Phone Scam Fraud is on the rise and the FBI has started an extreme crackdown in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, going after those who are attempting to steal from U.S. residents. With the outbreak of the novel coronavirus becoming widespread throughout the country, an exponential amount of fraud and identity theft has skyrocketed in recent weeks. Now more than ever, people are looking for the most up to date information regarding the virus in order to stay protected and prevent the spread from growing any further. As a result, fraud schemers are pretending to call people’s home and cell phones, acting under a false guise to steal from individuals.
To combat these efforts against phone scam fraud, the U.S. government has created several tasks forces and operations to reduce the spread of Covid-19 fraud. The FBI has already established additional fraud investigation units specifically targeting the coronavirus fraudsters. In addition, Homeland Security just announced on April 15th that they have launched Operation Stolen Promise, a nationwide effort to combat Covid-19 fraud, that has already seized more than 3 million dollars from schemes around the country. Even with such an intense focus on combatting crime, fraudsters continue to impersonate officials and steal from countless victims around the U.S.
You might ask, what might a Covid-19 phone scam fraud look like? The FBI has a full list of all the possible coronavirus phone scammers that can be found here. However, the main identities impersonators assume are that of a government agent, medical official, and investment firm. While every scheme is different, a common plan to defraud might consist of a fraudster pretending to be a representative calling from the CDC asking for your social security number or confidential information to “get you on the waitlist for coronavirus vaccines,” when no such thing exists. Although the phone calls, texts, and emails from a person or organization may seem legitimate, U.S. individuals need to be aware of the very real possibility that a fraudster is trying to steal from them. If a phone scammer is caught by the feds, state and federal courts alike have already begun criminally charging these schemers within days of being arrested.
There are extensive lists of what type of crime a fraudster could be charged with, depending on what court the criminal is charged in, but here are the main charges a scammer could face separated by state and federal jurisdiction.
State of California
Check Fraud (PC 476)
Credit Card Fraud (PC 484e)
Elder or Senior Fraud (PC 378)
Forgery Fraud (PC 470)
Identity Theft Fraud (PC 530.5)
Telemarketing Fraud (BPC 17511.9)
Citizenship Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 911)
Identity Theft Fraud (18 U.S.C. §§ 1028A)
Health Care Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1347)
Mail and Wire Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343)
Securities Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1348)
Tax Fraud (26 U.S.C. § 7201)
While it is a very intimidating time to be charged with a phone scan fraud offense, with the right attorney and legal team, you can get the best defense possible to work the odds into your favor! At Kenney Legal Defense Firm, criminal defense attorney Karren Kenney is also a certified fraud examiner and has over 20 years of fraud experience to handle any type of fraud charge you might have! If you or a loved one who is involved with Covid-19 phone scamming, call (855) 505-5588 right away!