How alleged scammers are preying on the vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis

Alleged schemers are offering fake cures or luring users to download an app that holds your phone for a ransom. “Nightline” speaks to an online personality who aims to take them on.
9:35 | 04/13/20

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Transcript for How alleged scammers are preying on the vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis
suburb that once rang with the sound of children's laughter, the neighborhood has now fallen eerily quiet. We miss our routine that we once had, that is now changed. Very drastically. Reporter: They have had their lives turned upside down by covid-19. They are a small business that provides office furniture installation and it has cratered. To go to absolutely nothing is shocking. Reporter: With so many people forced to work from home jobs disappeared. A lot of things are racing in our mind to make sure we stay afloat and continue running. We feel a responsibility to not only your direct family but also your employees and their families. Reporter: To counter the loss of their income, Alisha went online to sign up for the emergency loan program and was assigned an application number. Then something peculiar happened. An e-mail landed in the in box and was asking for an irs form to be filled out that would held my social security number, date of birth. Reporter: But luckily, she noted it had a different application number and sent from a strange e-mail address, giving clues to what it really was, a pfishing attempt, the very type of scam the FBI has been warning about as the covid-19 crisis has exploded. Not that there's ever a good time to be a victim of identity theft or a scam, but this is absolutely the worst time. Back now with a new warning from the FBI about coronavirus There are bad actors out there. Reporter: As Americans settle into the surreal, uncertain reality, there's another epidemic unfolding. Consumer protection experts warn, scores of scammers are on the hunt looking to pounce. There's one thing I've learned, people are greedy. Reporter: According to the FBI's financial crimes section, thousands of complaints are pouring in. When there's an opportunity for a fraudster to take advantage of something, they will. And in this case they've taken advantage of the fact we're all very scared, vulnerable and looking for answers. Reporter: And they're getting creative. With so many Americans using new technology to stay connected there are new opportunities for scammers, hackers have derailed meetings, zoom bombings, like this one that disrupt add town Black people! Reporter: It said it could track individuals with covid-19 around you, only to shut down your phone. Demanding a ransom payment. We can qualify you to get a free diabetic monitor and complementary testing kit for coronavirus. Reporter: Now they've hit hyperdrive, capitalizing on a nation filled with panic and fear. We've seen cases you could call flat extortion where a criminal is contacting an honest person, and basically saying I'm going to come over to your house and find you and give you coronavirus or I'm going to give the coronavirus to your family members or friends if you don't pay us money. Reporter: U.S. Telecom is an I have group aggressively tracking these robocalls back to their sources, which is sometimes international in nature. The goal, to shut them down as quickly as possible. It's our level of contribution even though we can't be serving on the front line in the hospitals. Reporter: He is one of these keyboard warriors, trying to find perpetrators and flag them to phone carriers. He's working with a California tech company, u-mail and we joined them as they went after a caller. This reference to quarantine and all that stuff. Coronavirus, quarantine, all the good ones. Reporter: They say they traced the robocall to its source and flagged it to the phone carrier, getting quick results. So, within 48 hours of that very first call to shutting it down is really good. Reporter: Then there are some who don't hide in the shadows, accused of openly selling fake cures or dubious health care products. You're saying silver solution would be effective. Let's say it hasn't been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it's been tested on other strains of the coronavirus. Reporter: Authorities accuse teleevangelist Jim baker of promoting a silver solution cure for covid-19, suing them for trying to sell a potion in a bottle for $80. The production company for his TV show says it was his guest who touted the product. The company says they've stopped litigation is currently pending. Meanwhile, in southern California, Keith middle brook was an actor who played a police officer, dispensing justice in "Iron man two." You're under arrest. I'm trying to help here. Reporter: His social media showing a man confident. This is Keith middle brook. Reporter: In his success. I'm a beautiful mayback. This is a $600,000 car. Reporter: His latest achievement, he alleged, was finding a so-called cure that has so far eluded the best scientists and U.S. Government. He posted this bold claim to his 2 million Instagram followers. After studying cell tissues for many years, I've created the cure for covid-19, covid-19, the this is it right here. Reporter: There is no cure. And middle brook has been arrested and charged with attempted wire fraud, accused of promoting a false claim to lure investors. I'm beyond qualified. Reporter: His attorney says he has no comment at this time at this time. People want to get rich quick or whatever the means might be. He was soliciting investment. That would be someone on a much larger scale. Reporter: But he may be lucky he never ran into this online personality. Will it help my cat? Yes. Reporter: This is kith Boga. He wouldn't share his real name with ABC news for what he claims are personal safety reasons. I talk to criminals primarily, for my job now. Reporter: Kitboga has racked up hundreds of followers. By turning the table on alleged con artists and scammers, taking on those advertising fake cures Would you like me to place the order for you? Reporter: He took me behind the scenes of his operation. All the walls painted green so he can set up fake backgrounds. I don't want to waste their if I'm talking to them for three hours, that's three hours that they're not talking to someone's grandma. Reporter: With a background in software programming, he has voice changing. Right now you should Hara old lady coming through. If I play an old lady or old man character the scammers are so much more likely to stay on the phone and try to scam me. The active ingredient for this is a proprietary Brend of cinnamon, clove bark, LEM, eucalyptus, oregano. I'm sorry, you're saying you got some stuff from your garden and blended it up? Reporter: He's fueled and outraged by people who would take advantage of these turbulent times. How dare you. We're good now. Are you kidding me? Not only is this illegal, but you're lying to people who are desperate. I was mad. I thought, man, how am I going to listen to someone lie and say that this, this oil can save my husband or this oil will cure me from the coronavirus and keep a straight face. Reporter: As these scams run rampant, law enforcement and other officials are urge being consumers to report these attempts. The coles did, only to be told they weren't the first ones to be targeted. I had filed a complaint with the recommendation of the U.S. Attorney. And he replied we've already received feedback from small business owners who are received the same scam attempt, and unfortunately, some have fallen for it. Reporter: And to the scammers, law enforcement with a stern warning. The FBI's message is that we will not tolerate it. We will investigate these cases the fullest of our ability and we rely on the United States public to notify us of these cases so we can get on them immediately. Reporter: And the translation for some of the younger kids, if you do this, we're coming for you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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