CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Scam artists have been preying on fears of the coronavirus and fraud as been rampant during this pandemic but a new task force has been started to battle the unseen enemy.
President Trump has likened the coronavirus pandemic to a war. In addition to the virus, we’re also fighting scammers. Now South Carolina has a new kind of special force ready to take them down.
The South Carolina COVID Strike Team is a collaboration between state and federal law enforcement and prosecutors. It’s designed to stop anyone trying to take advantage of this crisis. South Carolina’s new top prosecutor, Peter McCoy was just sworn in last week. He now leads the new team to identify fraudsters and shut them down.
“They will prey on vulnerable people and we are here to say, this group is here to say, this collaboration is here to say that’s not going to be accepted in our state,” McCoy said.
The task force includes members of SLED, the Attorney General’s office, and eight federal agencies including the FBI, IRS, and FEMA. They will all share information when it comes to scams and fraud. The collaboration from local all the way to federal level is important because scammers don’t recognize state and local boundaries.
“It comes down to information and when you have information that is shared by all local law enforcement, state law enforcement, and all state prosecutors, federal prosecutors and federal law enforcement it makes our job easier,” McCoy said.
McCoy says the strike team is already looking into cases of fraud and price gouging as well as fake COVID-19 testing. He encourages everyone to reach out to the National Center for Disaster Fund hotline to report tips.
“No tip is too small,” McCoy said. “We want to make sure if you have even the slightest concern or something seems fishy to you, it needs to be reported.”
If you encounter coronavirus related fraud, price gouging or other scams you can report it to the NCDF hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a scam story to share, email Kyle Jordan at email@example.com.