Tips to avoid COVID-19 fraud

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Part of staying safe during the pandemic is avoiding fraudulent activities. Consider these suggestions:

1. Be wary of advertisements for unauthorized virus treatments not authorized by the CDC, your local health department or your physician.

2. Look out for unexplained or unauthorized charges on your Explanation of Benefits statement.

3. Delete Coronavirus or COVID-19 phishing emails which may contain malware.

4. Be skeptical of false product advertising claims surrounding Coronavirus or COVID-19 (i.e. herbal teas, supplements, oils or ointments, etc.). Seek guidance from your physician if you are unsure.

5. Do not accept telemarketing or texts from callers you did not authorize.

6. Be skeptical of information-seeking callers who claim to be from BCBSND or work with us. Actual BCBSND employees will always conduct the standard verification process when speaking to a member. We will also not call members to offer free services or medication.

7. Be wary of scammers at your door offering free test kits or medications (i.e. inhalers) in exchange for insurance information or cash. They may also be there to commit other crimes such as robbery.

Additional COVID-19 scams identified by law enforcement:

  • Supply scams
    Scammers create fake shops, websites, social media accounts and email addresses claiming to sell medical supplies currently in high demand, such as surgical masks. When consumers attempt to purchase the supplies, fraudsters pocket the money and never provide the promised supplies.
  • Provider scams
    Scammers also pose as health care providers and contact people pretending to have treated a friend or relative for COVID-19, and demanding payment for that treatment.
  • Charity scams
    Scammers are soliciting donations for individuals, groups and areas affected by COVID-19.
  • Phishing scams
    Scammers posing as national and global health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are sending phishing emails designed to trick recipients into downloading malware or providing personal identifying and financial information.
  • App scams
    Scammers are also creating and manipulating mobile apps designed to track the spread of COVID-19 to insert malware that will compromise users’ devices and personal information.
  • Investment scams
    Scammers are offering online promotions on various platforms, including social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect or cure COVID-19, and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result. These promotions are often styled as “research reports,” make predictions of a specific “target price” and relate to microcap stocks, or low-priced stocks issued by the smallest of companies with limited publicly available information.
  • Price Gouging scams
    Individuals and businesses may sell essential goods, like hand sanitizer, for significantly higher prices than in a non-emergency setting.