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As US companies struggle to remain in operation amid the coronavirus pandemic, the FBI is warning that American businesses now have something else to worry about: fraud by employees seeking to take advantage of the pandemic. 

In a report sent to companies across the nation Monday, and obtained by CNN, the FBI’s Office of Private Sector notified members of private industry they should be on the lookout for fake doctors’ notes and falsified documentation from employees claiming positive Covid-19 test results. 

The bureau report warned that the steps a company must take to stop business operations and sanitize work spaces could lead to significant financial loss. 

Alleged scam costs company $175,000: The FBI report described an incident in March where an employee working for an unidentified “critical manufacturing company” told their bosses they had tested positive for Covid-19 and submitted what appeared to be documentation from a medical facility. 

“In response, the company shut down the affected manufacturing facility to disinfect the location, ceasing production and halting delivery of necessary materials to the plant,” the FBI report stated. “The company notified all employees at the facility, including four workers who had close contact with the reportedly infected employee and were required to self-quarantine.”

Upon subsequent close review of the employee’s medical documentation, supervisors became suspicious. 

The letter indicating the positive Covid-19 testing was not on official letterhead from a medical facility. A call to a telephone number listed on the documentation revealed the number was not actually associated with a location that conducted coronavirus testing at the time the letter was written.

In total, the FBI estimates the victim company incurred over $175,000 in lost productivity due to the alleged scam. 

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