|Back to Back Issues Page|
Watch For Scams Newsletter. New Variant COVID Scams
January 26, 2022
New Variant COVID Scams
Watch For Scams is dedicated to helping you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.
If you like this ezine, do a friend a big favor and forward this to them. If a friend forwarded this to you, and if you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting the link below:
New Variant COVID ScamsWith Omicron sweeping the World, scammers are finding new ways to trick people out of their personal information and money.
All over the country, long lines at testing sites have been the norm, resulting in hours spent waiting to find out if you’re COVID positive. The Biden Administration came up with the idea to buy a billion at-home tests and allow people in the U.S. to start ordering them online. But scammers had ideas of their own to create fake and unauthorized at-home testing kits.
Beware of robocalls directing people to what looks like a legitimate website however the scammers are just looking to collect credit card and other personal information.
If you plan to buy a test online, make sure it’s approved by the Federal Drug Administration. You can check to see if the test you’re considering is an approved antigen diagnostic test or molecular test before you buy. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission also recommends doing a search using the company’s name and words like “scam,” or “complaint” to see if there are previous issues. The FTC suggests paying with a credit card so that you can dispute the charge in case you never receive the product. Also know that private insurance companies are now required to cover the cost of eight at-home COVID-19 tests per month per person.
If you’d like some of the Biden Administration’s free at-home tests, after January 19th, head to COVIDTests.gov and order up to four tests per residential address. The tests will ship via the United States Postal Service usually within 7-12 days.
Another method scammers are using is by setting up complete fake testing sites. Everywhere from New Mexico to Chicago are seeing pop up test sites that often ask for payment up front and then give faulty or no results at all.
The FTC says these bogus test sites can often look legitimate and recommends getting a referral to a testing site by your doctor or local health department. If you hear about a new testing site through social media or elsewhere, the FTC says to check your state health department’s website to see if it’s listed there, or to check in with your local police or sheriff’s office.
With some government agencies and private employers requiring employees to get the COVID vaccine, a new phishing scam has surfaced. This scheme starts with a text or email asking people for something called a “Waiver Validation Update.” The message claims the validation (which does not exist) is required by the Centers for Disease Control and the Division of Motor Vehicles and asks you to click a link. The websites have stated people must give personal information like a social security number, date of birth, driver license number and more to validate their vaccination status.
It is never wise to click on links embedded in an unsolicited text or email. Scammers can use that method to install malware onto your device or computer and can then gain access to all sorts of sensitive information like passwords and bank accounts.
The FTC has a comprehensive website explaining the many scams associated with COVID-19. If you receive a suspicious message, check there for updated information. But here’s some good general advice to remember: COVID vaccines are free, be skeptical of anyone contacting you from a government agency and don’t share your personal information with just anyone.
If you believe you have been a victim of this type of scam you should promptly report it to the IC3's website at www.IC3.gov. The IC3's complaint database links complaints together to refer them to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration.
Remember - always watch for scams!
|Back to Back Issues Page|