On February 2, 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General issued an alert warning people of fraud schemes relating to COVID-19. The alert stated that “Individuals are using testing sites, telemarketing calls, text messages, social media platforms, and door-door-door visits to perpetrate COVID-19 scams.”
The scams are used to collect personal and sensitive information on victims. This sensitive information is utilized in financial fraud schemes and committing identity theft crimes. The public is advised to be vigilant when rendering services. Here are some guidelines to help better protect yourself:
- Be cautious of testing sites requiring payment or medical information for a free test.
- Utilize official government websites to locate legitimate COVID-19 testing sites especially if you make an appointment online.
- Purchase only FDA approved COVID-19 test kits and other medical items from legitimate and trusted providers.
- Valid vaccination cards can only be provided by legitimate providers administering vaccines. Offers to purchase COVID-19 vaccination cards are scams.
- Do not post your vaccination card on social media. Sensitive information on the card can be abused to steal your identity.
- Be cautious of COVID-19 survey scams, which may offer a reward for your participation.
- Be mindful of how you dispose of COVID-19 materials such as syringes, vials, vial container boxes, vaccination record cards, and shipment or tracking records. Improper disposal of these items could be used by bad actors to commit fraud.
- Be cautious of unsolicited requests for personal, medical, and financial information via email, phone calls, text messages, and individuals going door-to-door and posing as trusted medical providers, contact tracers, and other volunteers. Do not provide personal, medical, or finanicial details in exchange for vaccination information.
- If you suspect COVID-19 health care fraud, report it immediately online or call 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477).