As if Covid-19 were not already a big enough challenge for your business, the FBI has a warning this week about something new and frankly a little depressing: trusted employees committing fraud by taking advantage of the current crisis.

The FBI’s Office of Private Sector warned companies this week that it’s seen multiple reports of employees using fake doctors notes and other documentation to back up false claims of having been diagnosed with Covid-19.

More than simply trying to get a free sick day, the FBI warns, the nature of Covid-19 and the fact that companies will want to disinfect work areas and ask other employees to self-quarantine, means that fake Covid-19 claims can cost affected employers lots of money.

‘Ceasing production and halting delivery’

In the report, a copy of which was obtained by CNN, the FBI described an unnamed “critical manufacturing company” at which an employee told his or her bosses that they’d tested positive for Covid-19, and turned in “what appeared to be documentation from a medical facility.”

“In response,” the FBI said, “the company shut down the affected manufacturing facility to disinfect the location, ceasing production and halting delivery of necessary materials to the plant. 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.”

Ultimately, the employer became suspicious and realized that the documentation the employee turned in was bogus, the FBI said.

However, the “victim company” lost $175,000 due to lost productivity, according to the FBI.

Also, a coworker who thought they’d been exposed to the virus because they’d worked with the employee who reported being infected lost money by renting an apartment, so as to stay away from family during self-quarantine.