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  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , medical scams,   

    Contact tracing scam is still being used 

    Contact tracing scam is still  being used

    Contact tracing is basically medical detective work when it comes to contagious diseases. While it’s currently being used to try to disrupt COVID-19 infections, in the past, it’s been used to try to prevent infectious diseases like tuberculosis and measles from spreading. It works when treating an infected person and finding who they have been in close contact with and trying to get those individuals tested for the infection.

    If someone was found to have been in contact with an infected individual, they should receive a text message from their local health department saying that they will soon receive a phone call from their health department. The process behind modern contact racing still has a lot of hurdles to overcome as shown by the following video.

    Now, that hasn’t stopped scammers from trying to imitate the legitimate text messages that would be sent out in case of a potential infection. The phony texts are sent out en masse hoping to trick as many victims as possible. It will appear like the legitimate text messages but instead of telling you’ll receive a call from the health department, it will instruct you to click on a link.

    Once you click the link, you’ll be asked for personal information like your social security number, bank account information, and credit card number. None of this information would be needed by your local health department. At least not your financial information.

    Being told that you’ve been in contact with someone who has contracted the coronavirus can be scary. Scammers prey on that fear to try to get you to make rash decisions that you normally wouldn’t make otherwise.

    If you receive one of these texts that asks you to click on a link, take a breath and think about it for a moment. If there is any concern that you may have actually been in contact with someone who has been infected, your best bet is to contact your local health department.

    The CDC has a website where you can find information for each state’s health department.

     
  • Geebo 8:39 am on May 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , medical scams,   

    COVID test scam targets elderly 

    COVID test scam targets elderly

    During the current crisis, the elderly are not only the most vulnerable to the virus but could also be the most vulnerable to coronavirus related scams. Once again, an old scam has been repurposed for the global pandemic and it involves seniors’ healthcare.

    According to the Better Business Bureau, scammers are posing as Medicare employees offering coronavirus home testing kits. They ask their victims for personal information including seniors’ Medicare information. Tests are sent to the victims but again, no home test has been approved for use by the FDA. The BBB says that these scammers are more than likely committing Medicare fraud and are billing these tests to Medicare. If Medicare is paying the scammers for these tests, this could affect Medicare coverage for future coronavirus testing by doctors.

    If you receive one of these calls or possibly an email from someone claiming to be from Medicare offering you a test kit, either hang up on the call or delete the email. Whatever you do, please do not respond to any of these offers. Keep in mind that if Medicare was actually calling you, they wouldn’t need to ask for your Medicare number.

    This also goes for people on private health insurance as well. Your insurance company isn’t going to offer you an at-home test kit and won’t ask you for your ID number. If your insurance company ever does need to call you, they’ll already have that information on hand.

    Both Medicare and private insurances mostly communicate with patients by postal mail. Anybody claiming to be them with some kind of offer is either an identity thief or an insurance fraudster.

     
  • Geebo 8:22 am on April 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , medical scams,   

    Some sites slow to pull bad COVID products 

    Some sites slow to pull bad COVID products

    As we have mentioned before, the current pandemic has been a boom period for all sorts of con artists and scammers. The scams started even before coronavirus even started claiming all the headlines. Even before stay at home orders were issued, scammers were already online selling masks that didn’t exist or harmful snake oil cures. Even with all that we currently know about COVID-19 these scams are continuing unabated. Now, these scams even have an air of legitimacy as many of them are appearing on legitimate commerce sites. The problem is that these commerce sites are slow to pull any dangerous or false products if they even pull them at all.

    A tech company by the name of Proxyway performed an investigation into several e-commerce sites that were selling harmful products that either claimed to test for or cure COVID-19. These dangerous products were reviewed by medical professionals to determine how harmful they were. The sites that Proxyway investigated were Alibaba, AliExpress, Amazon, Craigslist, and eBay. Alibaba and Craigslist would take up to a week before the hazardous products were removed. eBay would take an average of three days while Amazon would take an average of two. While two and three days may seem like a short time, any number of people could have ordered these risky products from what they might assume are legitimate retailers.

    While sites like Amazon and eBay employ reviewers to look out for unsafe products they’re still not infallible. Craigslist is worse since it relies on community policing which has bitten craigslist in the past. Just because something is on a website, no matter how legitimate the website might be, you can’t assume the product is safe, especially when it comes to COVD-19.

    As of the time of this posting, there are no cures for COVID-19 and there are no commercially available home testing kits.

    For all valid information about COVID-19 please visit Coronavirus.gov.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 31, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Corona Antivirus, , , , medical fraud, medical scams, , quarantine,   

    Kickbacks and more coronavirus scams 

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/coronavirus-kickbacks-fbi-arrests-georgia-man-large-scale-unnecessary-testing-n1172101

    We thought by now that we might be seeing a decline in new scams related to the coronavirus pandemic but we are woefully mistaken. With more recent news, it seems like the scams are still on the rise.

    Medical fraud is one of the more common scams in the United States. Often, many dishonest medical providers will order unnecessary tests in order to either defraud healthcare insurance carriers or get kickbacks from the testing facilities. A Georgia man who ran a marketing company was recently arrested by the FBI for accepting kickbacks from medical testing companies for referring people to these companies to get unnecessary covid-19 testing. We keep hearing about how testing materials are scarce and are only available for the worst cases yet here is a man wasting them for the sake of greed.

    If this next scam didn’t involve covid-19 it might have almost been funny. However, leading antimalware maker Malwarebytes is reporting that there is a fake app out there calling itself ‘Corona Antivirus’. The fake app claims that if you install this app on your computer it will protect you from the actual coronavirus. If only it were that easy. Corona Antivirus is actually a piece of malware that could do a number of unpleasant things to your device.

    In the state of Washington, at least one police department is warning residents of a quarantine scam. Residents there have complained they’ve been getting calls from someone claiming to be the local police. The scammer tells the victim that they’ve been reported for violating the quarantine and must pay a fine over the phone before asking for your financial information. Police will never call you to ask you to pay for a fine over the phone.

    If you see images on social media that look like tweets from President Obama or President Trump stating that you’re eligible for $1,000 from PayPal, it’s a fake. The images had been circulating on Instagram before the accounts posting the images were pulled. Neither PayPal nor any other payment app is offering free money.

    In Illinois, a woman had her home robbed after she let a man into her house claiming to be an inspector. The man claimed he was a plumber and said he needed to check the water because people in the area contracted covid-19 form the water supply. The CDC states that covid-19 has not been detected in drinking water.

    Lastly. we’d like to remind you that if you’re receiving a coronavirus relief payment, you do not have to sign up for anything. If you filed your taxes for 2018 or 2019 and received your refund through direct deposit, the relief payment will be deposited into the bank account that the IRS has on file. There is nothing anyone can do to make the payment get to you faster. So if someone claims that they can get you the payment faster, they’re trying to scam you. Please do not give out any of your financial information to people you don’t know.

    Again, this has become a boom period for scammers. Don’t let the fear of coronavirus push you into making bad decisions that could cost you later.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , medical scams, ,   

    Coronavirus puts new twist on old scams 

    Coronavirus puts new twist on old scams

    As with any time of crisis, there is no shortage of scammers during the coronavirus pandemic. We’re not just talking about people buying insane amounts of toilet paper and hand sanitizer and trying to sell them with enormous markups. A number of scams that are preying upon covid-19 fears are just age-old scams dressed up in a coronavirus suit. Here are some more coronavirus scams to look out for.

    Johns Hopkins University has a very useful real-time map showing the spread of the coronavirus. The map from Johns Hopkins is safe as can be. However, there are malicious sites out there that have similar looking maps but are injecting malware into the user’s device that is designed to steal passwords. This malware can then spread to other devices and continue the process. If you think your device may be infected, run an antimalware application like Malwarebytes to remove the malware.

    Scammers are continuing to call people promising at home coronavirus tests. In at least one case, scammers are promising Medicare recipients a coronavirus testing kit. This is similar to many scams that prey upon Medicare patients by offering them a free medical item such as a back brace. As in other cases, the scammers are trying to get the victim’s personal information such as their Social Security number and other identifying information for potential identity theft. Please keep in mind that at the time of this posting there is no home test kit for covid-19. Testing can only be done at approved medical facilities and clinics. If you think you may have covid-19 symptoms, please call your doctor and they’ll advise you on how to get tested.

    The impersonation scam, or grandparent scam, is also having a coronavirus layer attached to it. Usually, in this scam, someone will call an elderly person and tell them that one of their grandchildren are in some kind of trouble and need money to rectify the situation. In this new version of the scam, people are being told that a loved one is in the hospital with coronavirus and can’t be treated until a deposit is paid. As much as the US healthcare system revolves around money, no hospital is going to turn away a covid-19 patient for any reason.

    Fear is to scammers like blood in the water is to a shark. These times are stressful enough without having to worry about being scammed. Don’t allow fear to override your sensibilities and you’ll be able to get through this.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , medical scams,   

    Coronavirus scams are having real-world effects 

    Coronavirus scams are having real-world effects

    Previously, when we discussed scams related to the coronavirus outbreak they were mostly theoretical. Now, many of these scams have taken root in the real world and have cost their victims large sums of money. Here are some of the scams that you should avoid.

    We realize that not everybody is going to be happy with us calling some ‘alternative’ medicines a scam but if we can help one person from ingesting potentially dangerous toxins then we feel like we’ve done our job. There are several supposed cures for coronavirus that are being touted online from garlic to miracle minerals and colloidal silver. While garlic is mostly harmless it doesn’t affect coronavirus in any way. However, so-called miracle minerals contain very toxic chlorine dioxide. Colloidal silver is equally as toxic and can damage your kidneys, cause seizures and even turn your skin blue.

    In British Columbia, Canada scammers are calling residents offering them phony coronavirus testing kits for a cost. Canada has free healthcare for its citizens and actual testing is being done at provincial health offices. In the US, while tests are in short supply, they are only available through medical professionals. Anyone offering a testing kit over the phone or online is merely trying to scam you.

    In Maine, US Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Aging Committee, is warning her constituents about fraudsters who are pressuring their victims into buying a non-existent coronavirus vaccine. The scammers will tell the people they talk to that if they don’t pay for the phony vaccine now they won’t be able to receive treatment from their primary care doctor on any vaccine clinic. Again, as of this writing, no vaccine or cure for the Covid-19 coronavirus has been developed yet.

    In the United Kingdom, scammers have taken close to $1 million in surgical mask schemes. Victims have paid high dollar amounts for surgical masks that were never delivered. As has been stated before, while these masks have been hard to find they do not prevent the wearer from contracting Covid-19 or any other virus. The masks are only effective when worn by someone who already has a respiratory virus. Medical professionals are worried that the fear and misinformation over the virus may cause a shortage of masks in medical facilities worldwide. So unless you’re already infected, wearing a mask will do nothing to stop the spread of the virus.

    If more people started acting rationally instead of giving in to fear and misinformation we could weather this outbreak in a much more effective manner.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , medical scams, , ,   

    Coronavirus scams are as bad as the disease 

    Coronavirus scams are as bad as the disease

    The coronavirus crisis has not gotten any better over the past few weeks. Tragically, it has claimed more lives and more cases are being reported every day. The crisis has created such a climate of fear that scammers have tried to seize every opportunity to take advantage of that fear. It’s gotten so bad that Amazon has removed one million products that made false coronavirus claims and Facebook has cracked down on misleading ads about coronavirus. This is not something that either of these companies does lightly. Just about every State Attorney General has also warned their constituents to wary of scams related to the outbreak.

    When we first discussed coronavirus scams, we discussed phishing attacks that are used to infect your device with malware. Those phishing attacks have become more sophisticated as many of them are now trying to disguise their emails as coming from places like the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control. A great way to tell that these emails are fake is checking the email address it was sent from. If it’s from the WHO the email address would end in who.int while the CDC’s would end in cdc.gov. You should also always hover your cursor over any links contained in the email to see exactly where the links may take you. The odds are they’ll take you to a site infested with malware or one designed to try to steal your personal information.

    We’ve also previously discussed how con artists from all over the world are trying to sell snake oil cures. Again, as of the time of this post, there is no vaccine or cure for the coronavirus. Anyone who is trying to tell you otherwise is either woefully misinformed or trying to sell you something that is at best a placebo and at worst toxic and dangerous.

    Much like when a natural disaster occurs, price gouging is also being committed for legitimate supplies that will be useful if everyday services become disrupted. Bottled water is one of those items as are surgical masks. Speaking of the masks, you shouldn’t be going out to buy a crate of masks unless advised by a medical professional. Surgical masks are designed to keep the wearer from spreading any infection and doesn’t prevent wearers from getting one. Not only that, but there are also counterfeiters who are selling bogus masks that don’t do anything at all. There have also been reports that bogus websites have been popping up claiming to sell masks and other items that aren’t selling anything at all. Instead, they’re just stealing your financial information.

    Even the greedy among us are being scammed by buying into phony investments that promise a return when you supposedly invest in companies that will supposedly cure the virus. On the flip side, the charitable among us are at risk as well as many scammers will be posing as charities that either claim to be researching a cure or helping those affected by the disease. Always carefully research any charity you think is worth donating to.

    For more information please check the Federal Trade Commission’s website about coronavirus scams.

    As always, if you want to keep abreast of the ever-changing situation please go to the websites for the World Health Organization, or the Centers for Disease Control.

     
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