US Attorney for Maryland warns of coronavirus fraudsters

If you see an offer for a coronavirus “vaccine” or “cure” that seems too good to be true — it is.

That’s the warning from the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s office.

The reason is simple: There is no coronavirus vaccine and there is no coronavirus cure. Not yet, anyway.

Coronavirus scams are happening across the country, including the D.C. area, Maryland U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur said in a news release.

In one instance, fraudsters looking to make a buck off their victims sent emails to people in Maryland “purporting to be from a local hospital and offering coronavirus vaccines for a fee.”


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Other scammers are posing as health officials offering fake cures and fake vaccines.

People also need to be wary online.

“Still other scams use websites that appear to be legitimate, but are actually fake websites that infect the users’ computers with harmful malware or seek personal information that can be later used to commit fraud. Many of these scams target the most vulnerable, especially the elderly,” the statement said.

“Fraudsters who are preying on citizens during this unprecedented public health crisis are reprehensible,” Hur said. “My office and the entire law enforcement community are committed to bringing fraudsters who prey upon our most vulnerable citizens to justice. We will continue our outreach efforts to make the public aware of scams and frauds.”

Hur urged people to be skeptical of any phone calls, emails or websites that asked for personal or banking information while promising “cures,” “vaccines” or relief from the pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has guidelines on how to keep from becoming ill and other information about the disease, on the CDC website.

The Federal Trade Commission has consumer information about coronavirus scams on Federal Trade Commission website, including a complaint form to report scammers. Older victims may also call the newly launched Elder Fraud Hotline at 833-FRAUD-11 (833-372-8311), if they believe they are victims of a coronavirus scam — or any other type of fraud.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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