WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – The U.S. Secret Service is boosting its efforts to limit COVID-19 related fraud. In nearly two years, the agency reports that it’s seized more than $1.2 billion from those trying to take advantage of the ongoing pandemic. But with that, the agency on Tuesday reported that nearly $100 billion at minimum has been stolen from COVID-19 relief programs set up to help businesses and people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
CNN reports the Secret Service is stepping up efforts to fight back against the billions more that COVID-19-related fraud has cost the economy “by tapping a senior official to work with law enforcement agencies across the country on the issue.”
The national report also says U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Roy Dotson will be the agency’s “point person” for working with banks to take back stolen COVID-19 recovery funds, and with the Justice Department in the effort to crack down on scammers.
“We see individuals and organizations are always looking for different ways to circumvent the system,” Dotson said. “I think it comes down to us being able to identify different mediums they can use. Obviously, with the modern conveniences today of online banking, cryptocurrencies, this allows fraudsters to move monies much more quickly, and fast money equals fast crime.”
Law enforcement officials warn a spike in COVID-19 cases during and after the holiday season could result in another rise of COVID-related scams.