We all know about the Nigerian prince scams, the IRS phone scams, and the email phishing scams. Now, bad players are taking advantage of the public with COVID-19 scams. This pandemic has brought about feelings of stress, grief, anxiety and worry. Unfortunately, that creates the best environment for scammers to take advantage of you.
Here are a few tips to be aware of during this time:
- Robocalls: beware of incoming calls offering you COVID-19 masks, protective equipment and home testing kits. They may ask you to give them your Medicare or private health Insurance number as well as personal information in exchange for the promise that you will receive a package in the mail. Do not rely on the caller ID you see and do not give out any information.
- Medical bill fraud: check your medical bills before you pay them. Always match them with the explanation of benefits (EOB) from your provider. Make sure you are not billed for services you did not receive or don’t look familiar. If you think something is not right, check with your health care provider and insurance company before you make a payment.
- Donations: fraudulent organizations are claiming to collect donations for food shelves, helping children, feeding the homeless, etc. Do not donate in cash, gift cards or by wiring funds to charities you are not familiar with. Always research the charity before donating.
- Email and text phishing: do not click on emailed links or return text messages that promising you COVID-19 updates. If you receive an email you aren’t expecting, but that looks safe, try to verify the email by calling the sender.
- Testing sites: beware of fake COVID-19 testing sites. If you wish to be tested, consult your physician directly.
We help many clients avoid these types of fraud. If in doubt, give us a call and forward the item in question. We’d be happy to take a look for you.
Be well and stay safe!
Meryl Roberts is a Financial Administrator at White Oaks. She assists in client and small business bookkeeping, executes accounts payable and receivables for small businesses, generates client financial reports and provides related administrative support.