McCaul Urges State Dept to Protect Americans from International Scams Amid Coronavirus

Scam

Washington D.C. – Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Republican Leader on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a letter to Secretary Pompeo, urging him to mobilize State Department resources and coordinate with other federal agencies to help protect Americans from international scams amid the coronavirus outbreak. In the letter, he wrote: 

“As you know, many of these schemes have an international angle, whether it is a cyber scam that originates in Eastern Europe, or the diversion and misuse of humanitarian aid meant to fight the pandemic. As Secretary of State, you have at your disposal resources to address this malfeasance abroad—especially through the bureaus of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and Diplomatic Security. I therefore ask that you direct these bureaus and others to give the necessary attention to this effort and offer whatever assistance needed to support the attaches from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security at our foreign missions around the world as they combat this criminal activity targeting Americans.”

Full text of the letter can be found here or below: 

Secretary Pompeo:

During the COVID-19 crisis, the Department of State has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to returning Americans home and to engaging with our partners and allies to help alleviate the impact of this virus around the globe. As our government looks for new avenues to address the pandemic, I would like to draw your attention to another aspect of our fight against this disease.

Unfortunately, whenever a large crisis develops at home or abroad, opportunistic bad actors, including nation states, will attempt to profit from the misery of others. Recently, Attorney General Barr released a memo to U.S. Attorneys directing that they investigate and prosecute wrongdoers who engage in COVID 19-related scams such as price gauging, advertising the sale of fake cures, cyber phishing scams, and fraudulently claiming to raise money for relief efforts. In fact, the first take down in this new DOJ effort was in my hometown of Austin, Texas involving a man fraudulently offering COVID-19 vaccines online.

As you know, many of these schemes have an international angle, whether it is a cyber scam that originates in Eastern Europe, or the diversion and misuse of humanitarian aid meant to fight the pandemic. As Secretary of State, you have at your disposal resources to address this malfeasance abroad—especially through the bureaus of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and Diplomatic Security. I therefore ask that you direct these bureaus and others to give the necessary attention to this effort and offer whatever assistance needed to support the attaches from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security at our foreign missions around the world as they combat this criminal activity targeting Americans.

If I or my staff can be of assistance to you as you take on this task, please do not hesitate to let us know what you need. Thank you again for your dedication to assisting Americans abroad, including from my home state of Texas, during this unprecedented crisis and overseeing our international response. I am very appreciative of your efforts.

Sincerely,

Michael T. McCaul