Seniors are being widely pitched with COVID-19 insurance scams trying to defraud their Medicare accounts and steal their identities, warns the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.
Fraudsters are offering “free” testing kits, vaccines, and supplies — promising Medicare will pay. Medicare and other scams are rapidly rising against America’s 52 million seniors, who are among the largest targets of COVID-19 hoaxes.
Phishing emails, robocalls, and door-to-door pitchmen are aimed at seniors. Even pop-up street-testing sites, visits to senior centers for “tests,” and bogus hotlines have been reported, the coalition says.
The sham insurance deals typically urge seniors to reveal their Medicare number and often other sensitive personal data, such as Social Security number and credit card information.
False claims can drain a senior’s Medicare account limits when they may need urgent health coverage the most. Swindlers also can steal a senior’s financial identity — draining their savings and ruining their credit.
Con artists try to exploit the seniors’ fear of infection as an older age group and bank on the perception that seniors are overly trusting.
Swindlers also pitch bogus non-Medicare insurance deals to seniors. They seek to exploit confusion about what insurance actually covers, the coalition warns.
Six ways to protect yourself:
• Ignore unsolicited requests for your Medicare, credit card, or other personal information from strangers.
• Do not respond to robocalls, texts, emails from strangers, or door-to-door solicitors. Deal only with sources you know and trust.
• “Free” COVID-19 tests, vaccines, medicines, or treatments are shams. Ignore them.
• Consult a trusted doctor or other health provider to check your medical status and order a COVID-19 test — and learn the facts.
• Never click on links from unknown sources. Clicking may download malware.
If you suspect COVID-19 fraud, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721 or firstname.lastname@example.org.