Be on the Lookout for COVID-19 Scams

Be on the Lookout for COVID-19 Scams

With most of the country practicing social distancing measures or on lockdown to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations that monitor insurance fraud have issued alerts for consumers. This type of fraud is a multibillion dollar criminal enterprise that preys on the fears and anxiety of consumers during times of crisis. As the virus spreads, new indicators of fraud are becoming challenging to predict. The identity theft experts at MedCareComplete want to warn you to expect to see fraudulent activity such as robocalls, phishing and spam mail with a COVID-19 theme. 

Phishing/spam are unsolicited emails that request personal information. Beware of emails from companies claiming to have access to COVID-19 testing kits, ventilators, masks, insurance and cures. The Federal Bureau of Investigation advises consumers to refrain from filling out any forms in emails that request personal information and not to click on any links in the emails. 

Robocalls can come from scammers falsely claiming to be from well-known insurance companies, asking you to call a toll-free number where someone on the other end will try and sell you COVID-19 health insurance coverage.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has cautioned that robocall scammers are also pretending to be from the Social Security Administration and offering fake COVID-19 tests to Medicare recipients and running small business listing scams. Click here to listen to a sample of illegal robocalls collected by the FTC.

Audio samples of COVID-19 scams are also provided by the Federal Communications Commission.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also warned of criminals disguising themselves as WHO officials to steal money and sensitive information. WHO states its only call for donations has been the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund

Click here to report a scam to WHO.

What should you do if you think something is suspicious?

If an email, phone call, or someone offering a type of service seems suspicious, the FTC recommends you “think critically” and ask yourself three questions:

  1. Who sent the message? Don’t trust them right away if you don’t know them. Verify who they say they are. The FTC states that government impersonators are very active right now. 
  2. What do they want you to do? Are they trying to get you to act in any way such as buy or download something or share personal information?
  3. What evidence supports their message? Be diligent and fact-check any information with reliable and independent sources. Do not engage if the information does not hold up. 

Trustworthy resources for COVID-19 related scams:

“Really, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So many of these internet scams and social media posts are appealing to this anxiety level that we’re all dealing with.”

-James Schweitzer, National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB)

Your MedCareComplete Identity Theft monitoring services were made for instances like these! Customize what you would like to have monitored and let us do the heavy lifting. Contact us to learn more or click here to sign up!

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