Rep. Bryan Steil is working to protect seniors from criminal scammers preying upon our emotions during the coronavirus crisis. Steil introduced H.R. 7002, the Stop Coronavirus Scams Act. Steil’s bill enhances penalties on criminals who knowingly traffic counterfeit drugs, mislabeled masks, and other false products during the coronavirus crisis.

“During these challenging times, people must rely on accurate, official sources. However, criminal scammers are preying upon our vulnerabilities and capitalizing on the coronavirus crisis. I am working to hold these criminals accountable and fight back. My bill enhances penalties on scammers who aim to do our community harm. As we move to reopen our economy and protect people’s health, be sure to stay informed and resilient against scams,” said Steil.

The Stop Coronavirus Scams Act doubles the maximum penalties that can be imposed on criminals who intentionally traffic in counterfeit goods and services related to presidentially declared emergencies, such as coronavirus. Current law provides for enhanced penalties for criminals who perpetuate wire or mail fraud in connection with a declared emergency or disaster, like coronavirus. Similar disaster-related penalty enhancements for trafficking in counterfeit goods and services do not currently exist.

In today’s Janesville Gazette, Steil penned an op-ed on the Stop Coronavirus Scams Act and the importance of ensuring our community has the resources to avoid scams and fraud.

Earlier this month, Steil held a coronavirus scams prevention telephone town hall with representatives from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), and AARP. Thousands of residents joined the call to receive useful tips and information to combat scams during this pandemic.

To report a coronavirus related scam, visit the FTC’s website.

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