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Top prosecutors say coronavirus scams now hitting Colorado

Colorado’s top prosecutors spoke to 9Wants to Know about what they’re doing to stop scam artists from targeting people in the state

DENVER —

As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, fraudsters are already targeting the vulnerable. 

“One of the things that is so heartbreaking in times of crisis is there are scammers out there who are going to prey on people's fears,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said. 

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Weiser’s office reports it has received 200 pandemic-related complaints scams since March 12. 

About 40 complaints involve price-gouging while other people have started to report robocalls related to stimulus funds. 

“They’re trying to get people’s personal information to take money from them," Weiser said. "There are people marketing tests or cures for COVID-19. Again, not legitimate providers scammers looking to take advantage of people that’s just wrong." 

U.S. Attorney for Colorado Jason Dunn said prosecuting pandemic-related fraud in Colorado has become a top priority. His office is focusing on fake virus vaccines and imposters pretending to be government agents offering stimulus funds. 

“In this environment, it would typically mean an out-of-state-actor trying to scam Colorado citizens, so we have an interstate crime," Dunn said. "And typically we’d prosecute that as a mail fraud case or a wire fraud case."  

Dunn said his office is also watching for people who hoard scarce medical supplies like hospital gowns and masks. 

“Anyone who sells those products at above market rates could be subject to prosecution by my office or the Department of Justice,” Dunn said. 

A 9NEWS viewer sent 9Wants to Know a photo of face masks being sold at a local convenience store for $39.99 for a pack of ten. A call to the store went unreturned. 

Credit: 9NEWS Viewer
A 9NEWS viewer spotted these masks for sale at a local convenience store. The price was $39.99 for a pack of ten

Earlier this week the Department of Justice announced it shut down a website based in Panama that was promising a free COVID-19 vaccine. 

The website promised the "Coronavirus Medical Kit" with $4.95 shipping.

The website was designed to collect credit card information, according to the DOJ. 

You can report scams to stopfraudcolorado.gov and www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

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