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FBI says scammers make up fake laws, commit COVID-19 fraud

FBI special agent Nymphgamey Scott in Fort Myers says scammers are trying to take advantage of others with fake shipping charges, new fees and new laws.

“It’s a new scam. It’s a fraudulent scheme in which fraudsters are targeting online customers in the shipping industry,” Scott said. “And they are citing fake COVID-19 laws in order to charge excessive amounts of delivery and insurance fees.”

One example: Pet sales have increased during the pandemic and lockdown. Scammers are finding victims and charging for added shipping and insurance, but they are not real. There are a few ways to recognize this scam.

  • Charges for additional fees
  • Excuses for delayed delivery
  • Payment to third party
  • Saying you will be reimbursed

The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) put out the alert, and South Florida is on the radar.

Agent Scott’s advice includes being wary, not giving out personal information to people or companies you can’t verify. And you should check on any news laws or fees before paying unexpected or unexplained charges.

And report scam attempts to law enforcement and IC3.

“IC3 has seen the complaints come in nationwide,” Scott said. “It’s definitely a scam that everyone needs to be aware of, especially if you do a lot of online shopping.”

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Reporter:Rich Kolko
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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