In this time of crisis, criminal scammers are preying on our emotions.

I am fighting to hold these criminals accountable.

During this time, I want you to make sure you have the tips to avoid scammers. At the same time, I am fighting to keep these criminals accountable.

Here’s the problem:

Criminals are taking advantage of this unprecedented situation.

They are using this pandemic to exploit our friends, family and neighbors.

During the coronavirus crisis, the Federal Trade Commission has received more than 50,000 scam reports resulting in millions of dollars in losses.

Last month, I spoke with a woman who dealt with a scammer impersonating her friend on social media. The scammer urged her to send personal information to them to receive a $40,000 check. But she recognized the red flags, stopped communication with the scammer and alerted her friend who had been hacked. She saw the warning signs and prevented a scam from occurring.

However, not everyone knows they have been scammed until it is too late.

That is why we must act.

I am working to hold criminals accountable by increasing criminal penalties for scammers during coronavirus.

My bill, the Stop Coronavirus Scams Act, doubles the maximum penalties for criminals who knowingly traffic counterfeit coronavirus drugs, mislabeled masks or other false products.

Criminals who aim to harm and deceive Americans during these trying times deserve to be punished.

Stay vigilant and safe, and I will continue working to hold these criminals accountable.

The best policy is to avoid scams in the first place.

Stay safe and use these tips to avoid scammers.

To help you, personally, fight back against coronavirus scammers, here are a few fast tips:

  • The IRS will not contact you via text, email, phone or social media with information about checks. Please visit irs.gov/
  • coronavirus for the latest official information on the economic impact payments.
  • Do not respond to offers regarding vaccinations.
  • Stay on the lookout for advertisements regarding test kits. According to the FTC, most test kits being advertised have not been approved by the FDA.
  • Hang up on scam robocalls.
  • Get accurate information from official sources such as steil.house.gov/
  • coronavirus-updates or coronavirus.gov.

U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Janesville, represents the 1st Congressional District.

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