Fake coronavirus health coverage and other insurance schemes are beginning to surface as scammers continue exploiting the pandemic for personal profit at consumer expense, warns the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. Robocalls, plus text and email phishing attacks can pitch false insurance deals to consumers of all ages. These pitches may ask consumers to pay insurance premiums, without delivering coverage.
COVID-19 insurance cons also can work to steal people’s medical and financial identities. Early alertness is crucial to self-defense. Insurance scams could spread rapidly as scam artists seek new ways to prey on people’s anxiety about health preparedness and social isolation.
Consumers should watch closely insurance-related scams such as:
- Bogus COVID-19 insurance. Scammers are pitching low-cost “coronavirus” or “COVID-19” health coverage. They promise full coverage at affordable prices.
- Robocalls falsely claim to be legitimate, mainstream insurance companies. People are asked to call a toll-free number; a trained marketer may try to sell coverage. Clicking a link to the so-called insurer may load malware.
- Free vaccines, special virus tests or kits. Con artists are pitching free vaccines and tests, claiming they’re covered by health insurance. They’re just attempts to steal the victim’s identity.
- Senior scams. Seniors are being targeted by COVID-19 robocalls and other scams that sell Vaccines, tests, “Senior Care Packages” and other frauds are being aggressively pitched. Scammers ask for the seniors’ Medicare numbers, SSNs and other information to make false claims against their Medicare accounts. Scammers even have approached residents at senior housing and assisted-living facilities for Medicare ruses.
- Bogus agents. Watch for cold-callers and spam emails claiming to be from insurance agents. They may pitch false COVID-19 insurance policies. Contact a licensed health-insurance agent near you.
- False insurance cancelation. Callers urgently say a loved one is sick in the hospital with COVID-19. Your health insurance was cancelled, the caller says. You can pay over the phone to reinstate coverage and receive needed treatment.
- Bogus travel insurance. Be wary of pitches for travel insurance that claim to cover coronavirus-related trip cancellations. Most standard travel insurance policies don’t cover viral outbreaks or pandemics.
- Ignore low-cost insurance or other suspicious deals. Reject sales pitches contacting you without your prior consent … or telling you to press “1” or another key to be removed from a call list.
- Ignore pitches for coronavirus or COVID-19 insurance, vaccinations or home testing kits. They are bogus.
- Do not pick up the phone if it’s from an unknown number. Just hang up if you do answer; do not engage the caller.
- Avoid clicking links or downloading files from unfamiliar sources. Watch for typos in the messages.
- Report suspicious calls to the Federal Trade Commission.