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Authorities warn citizens of COVID-19 home robbery scams: ‘Do not let them in’


Suspects are reportedly wearing white lab coats and masks, and offering to 'test' residents

Photo by Darren Holden/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

Authorities are asking residents to be aware of intruders posing as "medical experts" who are simply just trying to gain access to victims' homes.

What are the details?

According to Newsweek, suspects are reportedly wearing white lab coats and masks, and showing up at homes offering free advice about how to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. Some suspects are also offering to "test" residents for the coronavirus.

Florida's Daytona Beach Police Department outlined the scenario on Facebook.

In a warning, the department wrote, "They're attempting to rob the house once they get inside, sometimes by force."

"If you see someone approaching your house in a white lab coat or mask claiming to be a CDC worker, do NOT let them in," the post added. "Please call 911 immediately!"

The Broward County Sheriff's Office in Florida also issued a similar warning to Facebook users.

"The CDC is not visiting residents' homes," a post about the matter read. "During these times, scammers are seeking opportunities to take advantage of consumers."

What else?

The outlet reported that similar type scams are also taking place in Ohio.

One local department posted about it on Facebook, writing, "Unfortunately some people will try and take advantage of the current situation. If someone comes to your door saying they are testing for this, close your door, DO NOT let them inside your home for any reason and immediately call the police."

The phenomenon isn't even isolate to the United States, the report notes: Police divisions in the United Kingdom are issuing similar warnings for their local areas.

One department tweeted, "We have heard reports that people may be taking advantage of vulnerable by posing as door-to-door coronavirus testers or Police to gain access to people's properties. Nobody is conducting such tests. If anyone attends your property and claims to be testing, call 999."

On Wednesday, Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, announced that people were reportedly attempting to prey on the elderly.

"Scammers have already devised numerous methods for defrauding people in connection with COVID-19," a media release pointed out. "They are setting up websites, contacting people by phone and email, and posting disinformation on social media platforms."

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