Consumer Alert: COVID-19 Scams
NEW: BEWARE OF COVID-19 VACCINE SCAMS
Hudson Valley Residents: There have been reports of callers asking for money, Social Security numbers, and bank account information over the phone in exchange for a spot on COVID-19 vaccination lists. IT IS A SCAM.
Do not provide money or personal information over the phone for a vaccination spot.
Here are signs to look out for to ensure you or your loved ones do not become victims of a COVID-19 vaccine scam:
- You are asked to pay out of pocket to get the vaccine.
- You are asked to pay to put your name on a vaccine waiting list or to get early access.
- Advertisements for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online, or from unsolicited/unknown sources.
- Marketers offering to sell or ship doses of the vaccine for payment.
Protect Yourself. Do not give out your personal information to unknown sources.
If you believe you or a loved one has been victim to a vaccine scam, please immediately report it to these resources:
- HHS-OIG Hotline: 1-800-HHS-TIPS
- FBI Hotline: 1-800-CALL-FBI
- CMS/Medicare Hotline: 1-800-MEDICARE
NEW: MEDICARE SCAMS ARE ON THE RISE.
FOLKS IN THE HUDSON VALLEY ARE REPORTING PERSONS POSING AS MEDICARE REPRESENTATIVES TO OFFER FREE MEDICAL ALERT BUTTONS.
OFFERS LIKE THESE CAN BE SCAMS.
DO NOT GIVE YOUR MEDICARE NUMBER TO ANYONE. ONLY GIVE YOUR MEDICARE NUMBER TO MEDICARE PHARMACISTS, PRIMARY CARE DOCTORS AND SPECIALISTS, OR PEOPLE YOU TRUST TO WORK WITH MEDICARE ON YOUR BEHALF.
ALWAYS PROTECT YOUR MEDICARE NUMBER AND CHECK YOUR MEDICARE SUMMARY NOTICE (MSN) FOR MISTAKES. MEDICARE WILL ONLY ASK FOR YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION OR MEDICARE NUMBER IF YOU’VE GIVEN THEM PERMISSION IN ADVANCE.
How scammers use COVID-19 as to steal your identity and commit fraud:
Phishing attempts that use COVID-19 information to lure internet users into clicking on links that allow the scammers to access and steal personal information
Selling fake ‘at-home’ COVID-19 test kits, medical treatments or ‘cures"
- Promising to help you access your stimulus check from the federal government sooner
- Posing as a charity to steal money
- Saying they'll send you a Coronavirus test, masks, or other items in exchange for your Medicare number or personal information
Social media posts fraudulently seeking donations for non-existent charities or claiming to give you stimulus funds if you enter your bank account information
It's important to always guard your social security number, Medicare card, and any other personally identifying number like a credit card and check your claims summary forms for errors.
Visit Medicare.gov/fraud for more information and tips on preventing Medicare scams and fraud.
How to protect yourself from scams:
- Only a physician, or trusted healthcare provider, should assess your medical condition and approve requests for COVID-19 testing;
- Remain vigilant when receiving calls, texts, or emails claiming to have information on COVID-19, especially if you know you did not sign up for alerts from the sender;
- Do not click on any electronic links sent to you by an unknown sender; and
- When making charitable donations, it is best to work with organizations you know. Always do your research before donating to any charity or GoFundMe Account.
Click here to find sample audio from actual scams, including:
Free home testing kits
Scams targeting diabetics who use insulin
Coronavirus HVAC cleaning
Check back for updates to the FCC COVID-19 Consumer Warnings and Safety Tips webpage, which will be refreshed as new scams surface.
The New York State Attorney General has also put together a comprehensive webpage with additional information about consumer scams, which you can view by clicking here. On this page, you can also file a complaint if you believe you have been a victim of a scam. Here, you can also report any incidents of price gouging.