PORTLAND — Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams have announced the formation of a state-federal partnership to protect Oregonians from COVID-19 fraud. Together, the two offices will share information and resources to prevent Oregonians from falling victim to scams and other schemes attempting to exploit the coronavirus pandemic and public health emergency.
Both offices have civil and criminal enforcement authority and will continue to refer serious allegations regarding COVID-19-related scams, Medicaid fraud and other consumer fraud to each other for state or federal enforcement, as appropriate. They will also work with other federal, state, local and tribal partners throughout Oregon to help educate communities about emerging scams and fraud schemes, and share resources related to consumer complaints.
“Fraudsters are operating in full force right now, especially preying on Oregonians who may have un-cashed stimulus checks, pending unemployment claims or who may be particularly vulnerable to health care-related scams, like unauthorized tests to detect the coronavirus,” said Rosenblum. “By working together with U.S. Attorney Williams, we can use the power of our positions and the resources of our two offices to make sure no Oregonian is taken advantage of.”
In particular, Oregonians are encouraged to be on the lookout for:
• Testing scams — someone trying to sell you an unauthorized COVID-19 cure vaccine, or testing kit or going door to door performing fake tests for money;
• Charity scams — scammers soliciting donations for individuals or areas affected by COVID-19 or charities purportedly working on behalf of COVID-19 victims;
• Price-gouging scams — businesses marking up the price of essential consumer goods and selling them at higher prices than what the goods would normally be sold for;
• Identity scams — imposters pretending to be a government official asking for personal identifying information, access to your bank or unemployment insurance account, or offering to help access government benefits faster, including economic impact payments.
Rosenblum and Williams held a tele-town hall on Tuesday, May 12, focusing on scam and fraud identification and prevention. A recording of that event can be viewed online at www.oregonconsumer.gov/COVID-19.
Anyone who has been the victim of a COVID-related scam is encouraged to contact the Oregon Department of Justice at 1-877-877-9392, or online at www.OregonConsumer.Gov.