Scammers are trying to get personal information under the guise of COVID-19 assistance.
Pacific County Emergency Management shared a warning from the Federal Bureau of Investigation that several emerging health care fraud schemes are being attempted related to the pandemic.
According to the FBI, scammers are selling fake COVID-19 test kits and unapproved treatments through telemarketing calls, social media platforms, and door-to-door visits.
They say that scammers are promising free care to patients in order to gain access to their personal and health insurance information, including their dates of birth, Social Security numbers, and financial data.
Here is an example of a scam that has surfaced locally:
‘Good morning, according to our system, you are likely to have been in close proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. This means that you now need to self-isolate for 7 days and take a COVID-19 test.’
‘OK. Can you tell me who that person was?’
‘I’m not able to tell you that. That is confidential information.’
‘Right. Um… so ….’
‘But you do need to be tested within the next 72 hours. So can I just get the best mailing address so that we can send a kit to you?’
‘Ok (gives address)’
‘Thank you – and I just need to take a payment card so that we can finalize this and send the kit to you.’
‘Sorry – a payment card? I thought this was all free?’
‘No – I’m afraid not. There is a one-off fee of $50 for the kit and test results. Could you read off the long card number for me, please, when you’re ready.’
‘No – that’s not right.
‘I’m afraid it is. Can you give me the card number please – this is very important, and there are penalties for not complying.’
The FBI states that if you are called by contact tracing personnel, you WILL NOT be asked for any type of payment or be told you are required to take a test.
If you have any doubts following a contact tracing discussion please call the Pacific County EOC Call Center at 360-875-9407 or 360-642-9407.