Protect Yourself Against COVID-19 Scams
Men dressed in white lab coats, masks, and gloves knocked on doors in South Florida neighborhoods, claiming they were from a government health agency and wanted to come in to test residents for COVID-19.
Some people have received text messages saying they can get $1,000 as part of a federal COVID-19 stimulus program. All they have to do is click a link. And older adults have received robocalls offering to send free COVID-19 tests. The only thing needed to get the process started is the older adults’ Medicare member number.
Those are among the potential coronavirus-related scams that have been reported to the Florida Office of the Attorney General in the past few weeks. It’s not an unexpected development. In uncertain times, scammers turn out in full force to take advantage of people who are stressed out and fearful.
It’s important to protect yourself against swindlers who prey on the emotions of people during a crisis, especially those who are vulnerable or aren’t tech-savvy. Be cautious about offers you see online or on social media for COVID-19 testing and other services. Otherwise, the consequences could be staggering. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
If the men in lab coats had gotten into the homes, they may have robbed the residents who lived there. If the people who received the text messages had clicked the link, malware would probably have infected their computers, tablets or phones. And if the older adults had shared their Medicare numbers, someone may have gotten access to their personal information.
Our nurses and service teams routinely call members. If you receive a call from someone who says they’re from Florida Blue, there are ways to confirm it’s us. We’ll always begin the call by confirming your identity. But we’ll never ask for your banking information or your full Social Security number. If you want to verify the call was legitimate, call us back at the number on the back of your member ID card and talk with our customer service team.
We also work with vendors who may contact you, but they will let you know they are calling on our behalf and will never ask for banking or financial information.
Here’s some information to help inform and protect you:
- Check your Florida Blue member health statement or explanation of benefits to make sure you’re not being billed for services you didn’t receive. If you suspect fraudulent activity, contact our Special Investigation Unit at 800-678-8355 or by clicking here.
- If you think someone is trying to scam you, call the Attorney General’s Office at (866) 9NO-SCAM (966-7226) or file a complaint here. You also can call your local law enforcement agency.
- Read about scams that have been reported in Florida.
- Learn how to protect yourself against robocall scams.
- Report potential price gouging of essential items by Florida businesses. (These items are considered essential.) So far, the Attorney General’s Office has gotten more than $100,000 in refunds for consumers.
- See how the Federal Trade Commission is handling potential scams.
Filed under: Health Education