The Latest COVID-19 Scams: Be On The Lookout!
The OIG at the Department of Health and Human Services warns the public to be aware of fraud schemes involving COVID-19. COVID-19-related scams are being perpetrated by scammers through telemarketing calls, text messages, social media platforms, and door-to-door visits.
In exchange for personal information, including Medicare and Medicaid ID. numbers, con artists are offering grant money, early COVID-19 vaccinations, and Medicare prescription cards. These services, however, are unapproved and completely illegal.
“Medicaid and Medicare Beneficiaries may become victims of these Covid-19 scams!
Your collected personal information may be used to fraudulently bill Medicaid or Medicare for services you did not receive.
Watch Your Back!
- Be aware of COVID-19 survey fraud. Do not give out your personal, medical, or financial information to anyone who claims to be offering money or gifts in exchange for taking part in a COVID-19 vaccine survey.
- Take care when disposing of COVID-19 related documents. Make sure you shred them before discarding them.
- Scams may include offers to buy or sell COVID-19 vaccination cards. Individuals can only obtain a valid proof of a COVID-19 vaccination from licensed vaccine providers such as physicians or pharmacists.
- Don’t use any social media to share your personal or medical information – it is not private! Someone may end up impersonating you with the information you unwitting shared.
- Never pay anything to improve your vaccine eligibility ranking or place in line.
- Beneficiaries should be wary of requests for personal, medical, and financial information that are not solicited. Medicare will not contact beneficiaries to offer COVID-19-related products, services, or benefit evaluations.
- Any unexpected calls or visitors offering COVID-19 tests or supplies should be treated with caution. Don’t speak with anyone on the phone who calls you. Always ask for a call back number.
- Do not respond to or click on links in text messages about COVID-19 sent by unknown people.
- Ignore offers and advertisements for COVID-19 testing or treatment on social media. If you book an appointment for a COVID-19 test online, make sure it is on an official website.
- Give no personal or financial information to anyone claiming to offer HHS grants for COVID-19.
- Scammers impersonating COVID-19 contact tracers should be avoided. Legitimate contact tracers will never ask for your Medicare number or financial information, nor will they attempt to schedule a COVID-19 test for you and collect payment information for the test.
- If you suspect COVID-19 health care fraud, please report it by calling 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477).
More Info on Covid-19 Schemes
An imposter may claim you are eligible for grant money (citing various reasons such as COVID-19, disability, and so on) and instruct you to call a phone number to obtain the funds. When you call, you will be asked to pay a “processing fee” (via bank account information, gift cards, or bitcoin) to receive the grant money. Senior citizens are often targeted for these healthcare schemes.
Institutional Healthcare Fraud Schemes can involve medical labs doing Covid-19 testing. They may use your healthcare info. to bill the government for services that were not rendered. This false billing scam is more prevalent than you might imagine.
- As a final thought, some Covid con artists are offering people a $200 Medicare prescription discount card. No such cards exist!