US Attorneys publish online PSA to warn public about COVID-19 scams

Posted at 9:38 AM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 18:08:59-04

CLEVELAND — U.S. Attorneys across the nation are warning people to be on the lookout for scams related to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We've definitely seen a large volume of these cases," said Justin Herdman, the U.S. Attorney for Ohio's Northern District.

Herdman along with other U.S. Attorneys are featured in a minute-long video urging the public to stay vigilant and aware of scams while reassuring that anyone caught breaking the law will be prosecuted.

The Department of Justice is asking for the public's help in identifying scams.

"We need you to be alert, we need you to be aware of what can happen but also need you to be in a position to report it back to us so that we can follow up and no one else is victimized," Herdman said.

In some scams, Herdman said, people are receiving robo calls and texts offering a treatment for the virus or a vaccine. It is important to note, currently there is no vaccine for COVID-19.

But now, door-to-door sales are starting to be reported.

"They're offering to sell material like masks or hand sanitizer," Herdman said. "It's very likely, in those instances, that the material that you would be buying would counterfeit or fraudulent. Also, going door-to-door offering some type of medical treatment or test kit."

Another scam worrying many U.S. Attorneys is the stimulus check citizens are set to receive from the government.

Herdman said you will not receive any calls from the U.S. Treasury Department asking about your bank information, address or telephone number. If you receive a call from someone asking those questions, Herdman said do not give out any personal information.

"But it's okay if you write down the phone number of the person who's called you, any information you have about the interaction you had with them. If a name is given, a phone number that's given to call back to. All that would be pertinent."

To report a scam, call the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline at 1-866-720-5721or send an email to You can also email the Northern District of Ohio: