Restrictions implemented to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 have saved untold numbers of lives. The world has adjusted to such restrictions, and many parts of the world have relaxed measures as case numbers have declined.
As communities begin returning to some semblance of normalcy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned people against letting their guard down. While many of those warnings pertain to the importance of continuing to practice social distancing as economies reopen, advisories also include notices about fraud schemes related to COVID-19.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General has advised the public about scams involving Medicare fraud.
Such schemes are targeting Medicare beneficiaries in an assortment of ways, including through text messages, social media, telemarketing calls, and even door-to-door visits. When perpetrating such frauds, scammers seek beneficiaries’ personal information, which they then use to fraudulently bill federal health care programs,
potentially leaving their victims on the hook for costly unapproved tests related to COVID-19.
The CDC reminds everyone the importance of being aware of such schemes. Awareness can help consumers avoid being victimized by scammers, and the following are some additional measures people can take to protect themselves from COVID-19-related fraud.
• Do not share personal account information. Scammers need their victims’ personal information to perpetrate their fraudulent schemes. The CDC cautions beneficiaries to be suspicious of unsolicited requests for their Medicare or Medicaid numbers.
• Do not take callers or visitors at face value. Unsolicited callers or visitors requesting Medicare or Medicaid information should be met with extreme caution. Be suspicious of any unexpected calls or visitors offering COVID-19 tests or supplies. Compromised personal information may be used in other fraud schemes.
• Never click on links in emails or text messages. Do not respond to, or open hyperlinks in, text messages or emails about COVID-19 from unknown individuals.
Source: Metro Media