SALT LAKE CITY – Fake COVID-19 cures and non-existent stockpiles of medical supplies. The FBI is warning about these Coronavirus scams in Utah as fraudsters are making the rounds, preying on fears of the virus.
Some of these scams aren’t very prominent in Utah, yet. Supervisory Special Agent Drew Scown says they’re hoping to keep it that way. He says scammers aren’t just going after potential coronavirus patients, but doctors, as well.
Scown says, “Nationally, we’re seeing there are individuals who have ‘obtained’ bulk amounts of medical supplies and are trying to sell those to medical providers, which, at this period of time, is not allowed.”
With the current strain on the supply chain, fraudsters are taking advantage of a doctor’s or hospital’s needs. Some of them claim they can go through a third-party broker to deliver products other medical centers wouldn’t get. However, investigators say there are several different red flags to look for. Scown says any time someone asks you to pay in unusual ways, that’s a very big problem.
“If they’re being approached by vendors that they typically don’t work with that claim to have large amounts of medical supply items, that would also would be something that should cause them to be more suspicious,” he says.
Other things people need to look out for are last-minute price changes and excuses as to why shipments aren’t going to arrive on time.
He says, “If medical providers come across that, and it’s entirely possible that will begin to happen in the state of Utah, they should make sure they reach out.”
Even though those scams aren’t happening very often in Utah, yet, they have seen one making the rounds on social media in The Beehive State.
“We are seeing some of that in this state where people are claiming to have found a cure,” Scown says.
Scown is urging anyone who has seen these scams to call the FBI. They also want to hear from Utahns who are seeing cases of price gouging, even though that’s not something they normally investigate.
How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus
COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
- If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
- Get a flu shot.
Resources for more information:
State of Utah: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/
Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707