Tags: Coronavirus | Trump Administration | virus | fraud

'Operation Stolen Promise': US Immigration Agency Targets Pandemic Fraud

'Operation Stolen Promise': US Immigration Agency Targets Pandemic Fraud
In this March 19 photo, a shopper looks for toilet paper at a Stop & Shop supermarket during hours open daily only for seniors in North Providence, R.I. Federal law enforcement has warned that scam artists are preying on older people's fears by peddling fake tests for the coronavirus to Medicare recipients. Pandemic scams are on the upswing. (David Goldman/AP)

Wednesday, 15 April 2020 04:19 PM

Coronavirus fraud is being targeted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under a new operation that has led to the seizure of bogus protective equipment and COVID-19 test kits, and over $3 million in illicit proceeds, the agency said on Wednesday.

Operation Stolen Promise was launched as a direct response to a spike in criminal activity since the coronavirus outbreak, ICE said in a statement, noting it will collaborate with the FBI, Internal Revenue Service and other U.S. and international partners.

As of Tuesday, ICE's homeland security investigations unit had seized 225 shipments of fraudulent products, opened over 130 probes nationwide, made nine arrests, executed seven search warrants and sinkholed over 11,000 COVID-19 domain names, the agency said.

"Surging criminal activity surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic requires an equally robust investigative response to protect the American public," the agency said.

Americans have reported losing more than $13 million to coronavirus-related fraud this year, according to an analysis published on Wednesday by the Federal Trade Commission. The top fraud complaints were tied to travel and vacations, online shopping and fake text messages, the commission found.

According to a CNBC report, the fraud dollar figure is based on 18,235 reports related to COVID-19 that the FTC has received from consumers since Jan. 1.

Note: Because not all consumers may have reported fraud to the agency, the true dollar figure could be much higher, the CNBC report said.

© 2021 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


US
Coronavirus fraud is being targeted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under a new operation that has led to the seizure of bogus protective equipment and COVID-19 test kits, and over $3 million in illicit proceeds, the agency said on Wednesday. Operation Stolen...
virus, fraud
235
2020-19-15
Wednesday, 15 April 2020 04:19 PM
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