The US Department of Justice (DOJ) took its first steps to combat COVID-19 related fraud on Saturday by filing a complaint in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas against an online company offering vaccine kits in exchange for a $4.95 shipping charge.
Currently, the World Health Organization has not approved any vaccines. According to the complaint, the website uses a photo of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, to add credibility to their claims.
The purpose of the website is to induce victims to pay Doe and those working in concert with him or her $4.95 for such non-existent kits, and/or to obtain credit card and other personal information from victims for purposes of engaging in fraudulent purchases and identity theft.
In response to the complaint, the court issued a temporary restraining order requiring the registrar of the website to block public access to it.
In a press release, the DOJ recommended that Americans take precautionary measures to verify the identity of any “company, charity, or individual” contacting you regarding COVID-19.
For more on COVID-19, see our special coverage.