Robocalls advertising fake coronavirus-related products and bogus deals

Robocalls have turned from the usual social security fraud scams to coronavirus-related messages. The FTC says some are peddling fake products, and others are looking to cash in on stimulus checks.


Jessica Jaglois

Jessica Jaglois

Investigative reporter

Jessica Jaglois is an investigative reporter at WMC Action News 5. She has a particular interest in investigating stories about government corruption and waste, criminal justice and issues facing children.

As the city of New Orleans's most honored investigative reporter, Lee Zurik has been uncovering and reporting impactful stories on WVUE since 2009. Following up his tenacious inquiries with detailed analysis and powerful storytelling, Lee delivers unprecedented accountability of government officials, private citizens and corporations.

Rachel DePompa

Rachel DePompa

Investigative reporter

Rachel DePompa is NBC12's On Your Side Investigator. Before joining WWBT in March of 2008 Rachel worked in Roanoke, Bristol and Harrisonburg.

  The Investigators: U.S. Attorney in West Tennessee assigns COVID-19 coordinator to tackle fraud, price gouging

  The Investigators: Calls into child abuse hotlines drop during pandemic

  The Investigators: Prisoners granted parole may not be released during COVID-19 pandemic

Pharmacists: Doctors writing prescriptions for possible COVID-19 treatment at expense of chronically-ill patients

  The Investigators: Do safety laws protect workers who report to work during the pandemic?

  The Investigators: FBI says risk for child exploitation is higher during pandemic

Continued Coverage

  Tennessee looking for volunteers to help seniors during the pandemic

  The Investigators: Tennessee offers money to day cares suffering during pandemic but all are not eligible

  The Investigators: If you’re unemployed, what health insurance options do you have?

  The Investigators: Could state and federal elections be postponed?

  The Investigators: Memphis airport changes parking policy for those quarantined, staying safer at home

  The Investigators: Buying, selling & investing -- Mid-South realtors yet to see effects of COVID-19 outbreak

The Investigators: Most positive COVID-19 tests in Tennessee are for younger adults

Data from the Tennessee Department of Health shows that most people testing positive with COVID-19 are between 21 and 50 years old.

  The Investigators: What does the new tax deadline mean for your refund, tax bill?

For years, tax day has been on April 15. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the day will be moved.

  The Investigators: What state unemployment benefits are available to you?

The Investigators looked into unemployment benefits for Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee, how to apply and how quickly help could become available.

  The Investigators: New data shows more young adults hospitalized for COVID-19

Most people who have died in the United States from COVID-19 were over 85 years old, but new data shows many younger patients who tested positive are getting seriously sick.

  The Investigators: Federal Trade Commission and AARP issues warning to seniors about coronavirus-related scams

  The Investigators: More women wanting to give birth at home during pandemic. Is it safe to make the switch?

The Investigators: Attorneys General are flooded with price gouging complaints. Is the practice always illegal?

  Watching Your Wallet: Travel insurance likely won’t cover coronavirus-related cancellations

  The Investigators: What does the telemedicine expansion mean for patients in the Mid-South?

  The Investigators: People will wait in jail longer for their day in court because of the coronavirus

The Investigators: Nurses prepare for surge in patients seeking tests, care

The Tennessee Nurses Association said today that it is preparing for a deluge of patients seeking testing or care during the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 Tracker: Check out the latest on test results around the country

InvestigateTV is monitoring coronavirus COVID-19 cases around the country and updating information here frequently.

  Mid-South casinos face emergency order of closure due to concerns over COVID-19

A major economic blow has hit the Mid-South -- casinos have been given just hours to close down and send guests home.

  Watching Your Wallet: With coronavirus causing market volatility, financial experts help you watch your nest egg

With coronavirus COVID-19 impacting the economy, financial experts give you ideas on how to focus on long-range planning.

  Sanitized: Online listings for hand sanitizer, disinfectant advertise inflated prices

InvestigateTV finds hand sanitizer and wipes with majorly inflated prices; state attorneys general ask consumers to report price gouging.

  The Investigators: Will common household cleaners stop the new coronavirus?

Cleaning supplies are flying off the shelves in the Mid-South. Are you choosing the right products and using them correctly?

  The Investigators: Will a face mask protect you from coronavirus?

Mid-South retailers say they can’t keep face masks on store shelves because people believe the masks will protect them from coronavirus.

  Congress takes up insurance rate discrimination

A House subcommittee is considering making changes to insurance laws to stop car insurance companies from basing rates on factors like credit scores.

  The Investigators: TSA has found 15 guns, most loaded, at Memphis International Airport so far this year

A passenger was escorted out of the Memphis International Airport a loaded gun was found in a carry-on bag.

  The Investigators uncover flaw with school zone cameras

A school zone camera erroneously issued speeding tickets to at least two drivers, and three people who reviewed those tickets didn’t catch the mistakes.

  The Investigators: MLGW customers pay for millions of dollars in damages to utility lines

Over the past five years, Memphis Light, Gas and Water customers have paid millions to repair underground pipes.

  Consumer Reports: 2 words to watch out for in your next contract

Arbitration clauses are typically buried in the fine print of product manuals and websites. Most people don’t even realize they’re agreeing to them.

  Rate Discrimination: Some insurance companies give better rates for customers with certain jobs, education

Drivers with less education or jobs that typically pay less may face higher car insurance rates, according to an industry insider.

  The Investigators: Collierville ransomware attack cost over $100,000; town now considering legal action

The simple task of opening an email could end with hackers holding your digital life hostage. That is what happened to the Town of Collierville last summer.

  The Investigators: This Mississippi county feeds people across the world but its residents can’t buy fresh produce

Quitman County became a food desert overnight when its only full-service grocery store closed in 2017.

  Patriot Penalty: Deployed service members come home to find higher auto insurance rates

Service members who cancel their car insurance to serve overseas may come back to find higher rate quotes after telling companies they didn't have coverage because of deployment.

  Watching Your Wallet: How to become a 401(k) millionaire

From using a specialized retirement plan to considering using a "robo advisor," experts explain how you can grow your retirement savings.

  Costly Care: Medicare charged hundreds more than drug’s cost at cash value

A man noticed his insurance paid all of one medication, but then he discovered the federal government was billed hundreds more than market value.

  New DOJ data shows increase in officer-involved shootings from 2018 to 2019

The WMC Action News 5 Investigators exclusively obtained data from the Department of Justice Monday showing the number of police officers shot while on the job in 2019 increased compared to the prior year.

  Medical boards not doing enough to protect patients from doctors with history of misconduct, expert says

Are state medical boards doing enough to protect patients from doctors with sexual misconduct history? An expert told WMC Action News 5 there are several reasons why that has been called into question in recent years.

  Consumer Reports investigates the crash test bias and why female drivers are at risk

You might think that crash test dummies represent a wide range of drivers. But despite their blank faces and androgynous features, most dummies used in auto crash tests represent a very specific type of driver—an average adult male—which researchers say poses a safety risk for women.

  The Investigators: Numbers reveal interstate shootings largely remain unsolved

Numbers obtained by the Investigators show that there have been 51 shootings on Memphis highways between Jan. 8, 2019 through Jan. 29, 2020.

  The Investigators: One family owes Shelby County over $1 million in property taxes for Collierville toxic site

They haven’t paid Shelby County property taxes since 2007 and owe the county more than $1.32 million.

  The Investigators: More than $30 million in taxes owed to Shelby County by delinquent taxpayers

While the majority of Shelby County property owners pay what they owe in taxes, the dozens who don’t are taking money from the services we all rely on.

  Illegal Contact: Banned drugs found in athletic performance supplements

Current and former NFL players say they have tested positive for drugs because of contaminated supplements. Scientists say it's a problem not just for athletes but anyone taking supplements - particularly those in performance-enhancement categories like weight loss and muscle building.

  Tunica Sheriff’s Office continues search for suspect after officer-involved shooting

The Tunica Sheriff’s Office is still looking for a suspect connected to a shootout, which led to an officer-involved shooting.

  150 blighted properties transferred from Shelby County to neighborhood non-profit

Dozens of blighted properties have hope for new lives now that they are in the hands of an established, neighborhood non-profit.

  The Investigators: Baby gear rental service promises safe, clean equipment for traveling parents

Through the website, travelers needing a crib for a few days can rent it in the city they’re visiting, from other parents or grandparents.

  Recognizing Hate: FBI begins counting its own hate crime cases in federal data, inaccurate numbers remain

After years of breaking the law, the FBI has finally and quietly released its own hate crime statistics. As InvestigateTV uncovered in Measure of Hate, while the FBI published annual hate crime statistics, the agency failed to release its own numbers.

  Watching Your Wallet: Make smart money moves before 2020

From maxing out retirement contributions to checking your car insurance rates, experts say there are a few smart financial steps to take before the new year starts.

  Consumer Reports explains the risks of buying second hand

A new Consumer Reports investigation found hundreds of recalled products, some of them potentially dangerous, still available for sale. Here’s what you need to know so you don’t put your family at risk.

  Stuck in the system: Why a blighted home can remain standing when it is both a public nuisance and tax delinquent

When 92-year-old Ozzie Elliott sits on the front porch of her South Memphis home, she faces the home across the street that has been boarded up, vacant and neglected for the better part of 10 years.

  Preying on patriotism: Sham veterans and first-responder charities ousted for deception, their professional fundraisers largely left unscathed

Sham veterans and first-responder charities have been put out of business for misusing donations but their third-party, for-profit fundraisers remain in business.

  Watching Your Wallet: Don’t break your gift budget this holiday season

Americans plan to spend an average of $825 on holiday gifts this year, according to NerdWallet. Experts give you ways to stay on budget and find the best deals.

  Cashing in on Charity: Donations meant to help sick children, wounded veterans, abused animals instead benefit for-profit fundraisers

Professional fundraisers are for-profit companies that contract with charities to solicit donations by telephone or through the mail. The industry is loosely regulated and can keep as much as 100% of donated dollars.

  Tennessee announces plans for $732M surplus funds meant to help the state’s working poor

The Tennessee Department of Human Services admitted last week that it has a surplus of $732 million. That money is supposed to help those who have children and are experiencing financial difficulties.

  Data obtained by WMC Investigators shows number of disturbances has increased at Wilder Youth Development Center

After a massive riot at Wilder Youth Development Center in September, the WMC Action News 5 Investigators requested information about how often disturbances occur inside the facility.

  Consumer Reports explains how to protect your privacy when using smartphone health apps

How do you know whether your privacy is protected? Consumer Reports explains what to look for to safeguard your personal information.

Tennessee lawmakers call out Department of Human Services for keeping $732M in surplus funds

State Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis, called out the Department of Human Services Friday for letting millions of dollars in funding meant to help Tennessee's working poor sit unused.

  State opened investigation at FedEx’s Memphis hub last month after workplace amputation

The WMC Action News 5 Investigators learned there have been 16 TOSHA investigations into FedEx facilities since 2014. Fifteen of those investigations have been conducted at FedEx facilities in Memphis.

  The Investigators: Blighted properties become havens for crime

A WMC Action News 5 investigation into thousands of blighted properties reveals the impact those eyesores can have on community safety.

  Are grocery delivery services right for you?

Consumer Reports browsed hundreds of virtual aisles to find out.

  Safeguard your prescription information with these tips from Consumer Reports

Pharmacies and doctors are legally bound to safeguard your prescription records. But some of that information can still be shared and used in ways you might not expect.

  The Investigators: Thousands of blighted homes impacting Memphis neighborhoods

Why does it take so long to get anything done about blighted properties in Memphis? The WMC Action News 5 Investigators worked to get answers to that question and discovered that, while the problem may be obvious, the solutions are not.

Missed Opportunity: Federal initiative meant to help poor neighborhoods benefits the rich

Neighborhoods with an average income of about six-figures are labeled “distressed” by the federal government.

Searchable Memphis blight map

This map is provided by Innovate Memphis using information WMC obtained from the City of Memphis Public Works Division, the department that oversees blight complaints.

  Hidden Damage: Wrecked, flooded border patrol truck sold at dealership without damage declared

A Virginia man bought a car from a dealership. The title and history looked clear, but it turned out the truck had a dangerous history.

  Fake Filters? Made-up addresses, strange receipts and copycat websites reveal knock-offs on the market

After several strange clues, a Michigan father questions whether his water filters are authentic. Experts say counterfeit filters are a growing problem in the United States.

  Watching Your Wallet: Student loan debt reaches all-time high

College graduates now owe the most money in history; experts say it's best to pay it back sooner rather than later.

  Locked Down: Inside the prison where inmates set each other on fire and gangs have more power than guards

Widespread concern about understaffing in Mississippi's prisons has people calling for a change. They say inmates, correctional officers and surrounding communities are in danger.

  Measure of Hate documentary explores the undercounting of crimes in America

InvestigateTV shows issues with undercounting hate crimes, including the FBI failing to meet a federal mandate to report. After months of reporting on this issue, this documentary also highlights results of the investigation, including police departments amending their records.

  Watching Your Wallet: Decade-by-decade, experts help you save for retirement

By retirement, financial experts say you should have at least eight times your annual salary saved up. NerdWallet explains how to get there, decade-by-decade.

  Fake Filters? Companies falsely claim to have prestigious water safety certification

With water quality and safety concerns across the country, many families are turning to water filters. But there are counterfeit filters and filters carrying fake certification marks.

  Memphis nursing home tied to national investigation into patient neglect and mismanagement

The Ashton Place nursing facility on Walnut Grove is closed now, but at least one Memphis attorney who has handled cases involving this nursing home says the facility was a house of horrors for years.

  Memphis woman says she was duped by a fake customer service number for Cash App

A Memphis woman is warning users of the popular mobile payment service Cash App about crooks looking to prey on those who need help with their accounts.

  Untested Waters: Feds take small steps toward inspecting more seafood

The FDA has a new strategy for imported food safety, and Congress has increased seafood inspection funds. But the U.S. still lags behind some other countries when it comes to inspections and regulations.

Watching Your Wallet: Experts say to shop around for the best deals on car insurance and cell phone plans

A NerdWallet financial expert offers tips on saving money on car insurance and cell phone bills: Watch this and don't pay for what you don't need.

Watching Your Wallet: Spring housing market secrets revealed

Want to get top dollar for your home this spring? Or are you looking to buy your first home? NerdWallet gives tips for those on both sides of the equation.