AG James works to rid the internet of coronavirus-related scams
James takes aim at websites that sell fake testing kits, advertise phony cures or pretend to be charities
Though it’s no small job, Attorney General Letitia James has worked since March to scrub the net of websites that are seeking to illegally profit from the coronavirus pandemic.
James has directed staffers from her office to review domain names for potential scams that attempt to take advantage of people’s fears during the pandemic. Once a URL is identified, James’ office works with registration websites to take down the sites selling, marketing and promoting fraudulent goods and services.
The Attorney General’s Office isn’t just working to take websites allegedly participating in illegal activity down, but is also working with registration websites to “lock” domains so they cannot be transferred and used by other scammers.
“Unfortunately, the world wide web is filled with criminals and nefarious actors looking to exploit the coronavirus pandemic and take advantage of innocent victims,” said Attorney General James. “The operators of these scam sites are not only stoking fear in the hearts and minds of Americans but are illegally profiting from their fraudulent deception. Alongside our partners at different domain registrars, we are working to cleanse the internet of these illegal sites one at a time, but we need all consumers to remain vigilant.”
The AG’s Office worked with GoDaddy.com beginning on March 20 to stop the registration of certain domain names. According to the AG’s Office, GoDaddy and others are cooperating in taking down domains quickly for violations of their terms of services.
So far, they have investigated more than 20 fraudulent websites that are trying to take advantage of consumers through marketing scams.
Included in James’ takedown list are sites that sell home testing kids that are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, phishing websites that trick consumers into providing personal information, sites that sell fake cures and remedies, and websites that pretend to be charities seeking donations.
While those are the main targets, the office says it remains vigilant to other scams and medical supplies websites that are not fulfilling orders. In one instance, a website sold more than $40,000 worth of supplies to a hospital in China and disconnected its phone lines to avoid ever shipping the supplies, according to the AG’s Office.
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