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Maryland U.S. Attorney’s office warns residents to be on the lookout for scams, fraud amid coronavirus

Maryland’s U.S. Attorney is warning residents to be on the lookout for potential scams and scammers, part of an effort to protect people from those trying to profit off the coronavirus.

Scams in Maryland and across the country are increasing during the pandemic and target vulnerable people, particularly the elderly, Maryland U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur said in a news release Thursday.

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One scam outlined as a warning involved fraudsters sending emails claiming to be from a local hospital that offers a coronavirus vaccine for a fee. That entire pitch is a lie, as there are are currently no vaccines for COVID-19.

Hur said other fraudsters are offering fake cures for coronavirus and posing as public health officials. He also said there are fake websites that infect users’ computers with harmful malware or seek personal information to be used to commit fraud.

“Fraudsters who are preying on citizens during this unprecedented public health crisis are reprehensible," Hur said in the release. “My office and the entire law enforcement community are committed to bringing fraudsters who prey upon our most vulnerable citizens to justice.”

He urged residents to “remain vigilant” and be “skeptical” of any unusual calls, emails or website.

Hur said U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr sent a memo to U.S. attorneys across the nation to make all scam investigations a priority.

Elderly victims may also call the n 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.

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