Top 5 Emerging COVID-19 Scams to Beware
Posted by Lori Alala on April 13, 2020
Beware of Scams – New Scam Update
Recently, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud released the top five emerging COVID-19 scams that have been reported by both consumers and state-level authorities. The list is as follows:
- Canceled health insurance. Scammers have placed calls and sent emails warning individuals that their health insurance has been unexpectedly canceled due to COVID-19. Often, they will try to direct you to a link within an email to click on or a toll-free number to call to “recover” your health insurance. Their goal is to steal your personal information. If you have concerns about your health insurance, call the number listed on your health insurance card.
- Fake “corona” insurance. Scammers posing as health insurance agents may try to sell you insurance to cover potential testing or treatment for COVID-19 over the telephone. The fact is that many standard health insurance policies already provide coverage. If you receive one of these calls, simply hang up the telephone.
- Fake COVID-19 medicines and tests. You may receive emails claiming to have a treatment or vaccine that will protect you from COVID-19. Many times, these emails will claim that these vaccines are “all-natural” and have proven to be effective. While scientists continue to develop testing and potential vaccines, there are no known cures that have been developed to date.
- Scams targeting seniors. Offers for free testing at your home, local health centers, or senior centers are fraudulent. Many times, scammers will ask for Social Security numbers, Medicare numbers, or other sensitive information to steal your identity. If you are exhibiting symptoms related to COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
- Fake travel insurance. Reports indicate that scammers are also posing as travel agents and are claiming to sell travel insurance to help cover trip cancellations due to COVID-19. Many standard insurance policies do not cover pandemics or outbreaks unless you are diagnosed. If you have an existing travel insurance plan, make sure to read what it does and does not cover or refer to a verified travel agent.
The IRS reminds taxpayers that scammers may:
- Emphasize the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
- Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
- Ask by phone, email, text or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
- Suggest that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
- Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.