As part of its Fraud Corner Series, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) is providing Legal Services Corporation (LSC) grantees with the following information and resources relating to Coronavirus/COVID-19 frauds and scams.
OIG Fraud Corner articles issued on March 24, 2020, and April 9, 2020, discussed fraud and purchasing schemes relating to COVID-19 and encouraged grantees to share that information with their employees and clients. This article addresses issues that may arise in conjunction with the virtual environment that is being embraced by LSC grantees, their employees, and their clients during the COVID-19 crisis. We are providing a link to a Public Service Announcement (PSA) from the FBI, titled "Cyber Actors Take Advantage of COVID-19 Pandemic to Exploit Increased Use of Virtual Environments."
The PSA warns of telework vulnerabilities, including scams targeting software from untrusted sources, communication tools, remote desktop access and frauds by suppliers, as well as frauds involving education technology and platforms.
In addition, the PSA highlights a scam targeting business communications with vendors that the OIG believes should be of particular interest to LSC grantees. The Business Email Compromise (BEC) is a scam targeting businesses with the ability to make payments via wire transfers, checks, and automated clearing house (ACH) transfers. As part of the scam, a business (such as an LSC grantee) will receive an email from what appears to be a vendor known to the grantee. The fraudster, however, is impersonating the vendor and requests that, due to issues arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, payments be made outside the normal method the grantee uses to pay that vendor, so the fraudster can divert the funds.
Please see the PSA for tips (do's and don'ts) for avoiding scams relating to telework vulnerability, BEC scams, and preventing cyber-crime vulnerability.
If you have any questions or would like additional information about this or any other Fraud Corner article, please contact Daniel O'Rourke, Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, LSC OIG, at (202) 295-1651, or by email at email@example.com.