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  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , covid testing, , , , medical scams, omicron variant,   

    New variant brings same old scams 

    By Greg Collier

    With the advent of the Omicron variant, the demand for COVID testing has increased to the point of scarcity. Unfortunately, scammers and other con artists are well aware of this crisis and are looking to take advantage of it, so they can line their pockets. It’s gotten so bad in the state of Georgia that the state Attorney General’s office has issued a warning about scams related to COVID testing. While a testing shortage might not be happening in your state currently, Georgia’s current situation can be used as a reminder to look out for these scams.

    The Peach State is warning its residents to be aware of anyone going door to door offering COVID testing. Residents have also been told to be wary of anyone wanting to charge a fee for in-person testing. If you live in Georgia, you can go to the Department of Public Health’s website that has a listing of legitimate testing centers. While not mentioned by the Georgia Attorney General, some COVID scammers are after the medical insurance information of the heir victims, especially if they have Medicare. You should only give your healthcare information to a trusted medical provider.

    These phony testing scams aren’t just dangerous to the victim, but they’re dangerous to the public as well. If a victim is told they had a negative test result by a scammer, but actually have COVID, they could go on to spread it to their family, friends, and community with disastrous results. If you’ve spotted a COVID testing scam or have been a victim of one, it’s recommended that you contact your state’s Division of Consumer Protection.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 19, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , medical scams, , ,   

    Beware of hospitals bearing refunds 

    Beware of hospitals bearing refunds

    By Greg Collier

    A hospital just outside of Detroit has found itself being used as a tool in a scam. Scammers are spoofing the hospital’s phone number while calling local residents, telling them that they are owed a refund. The hospital itself is stating that they’ve received hundreds of phone calls from people who were approached by the scammers. People who have received these phone calls also said that the scammers asked them for their financial information, so they could issue the phony refund. While no one has reported falling victim to the scam so far, we imagine the scammers would use the information to drain a victim’s bank account.

    One of our staff members comes from a medical administration background, where they handled patient refunds. From what they’ve told us, this is not how hospitals or doctors’ offices handle refunds. First off, we’re told that refunds are a low-priority for many facilities. In most cases, they’re only issued if the patient notices a credit on their account and requests a refund from the facility. While there are exceptions to every rule, largely these refunds were issued by check and sent through the mail. By and large, most medical facilities put the responsibility on the patient to at least initiate the refund process.

    If you are owed a refund by a medical provider, and you receive a phone call like this, ask for the payment by check if you’re unsure if they’re your doctor’s office or not. If they say they can’t issue the refund in that way, there’s a very good chance you’re being scammed. At the very least, the facility can sometimes offer to return the refund to the method of payment they have on file. You can also hang up from the call and call the facility back at their billing number, which can almost always be found on the facility’s website.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: CVS, medical scams, ,   

    New scam targets pharmacy customers 

    By Greg Collier

    Previously, we’ve seen scammers posing as some kind of debt collector. In most cases, the scammers pose as some type of government or law enforcement agent trying to collect a phony fine. They do this so they can put emotional pressure on the victim and scare them into making a payment. Scammers will also pose as utility companies who are threatening to shut off your service if you don’t make a payment then and there. Now, it seems that scammers are branching out into another area of the commercial space that a number of people depend on.

    In Southern California, a number of consumers have reported getting a call from their local pharmacy, specifically CVS. The call states that the victim has a substantial balance with the pharmacy. As with most scams, this scam seems to be targeting the elderly., traditionally a group of people who are dependent on their prescriptions. Imagine being dependent on a drug like insulin only to be told you owe the pharmacy hundreds of dollars.

    The call itself is a robocall where an automated voice message tells the victim that they owe CVS money. The recording tells the victims to call a ‘helpline’ to resolve the matter. The helpline is not a phone number that belongs to CVS. One victim called the helpline and couldn’t tell the victim which CVS had filled the prescription in question.

    While the report we’ve read doesn’t give a specific motive behind the scam, we imagine it’s to get money from its victims. It’s safe to assume that the scammers probably would have asked for payment in gift cards, money transfer, or prepaid debit cards. They could also be after medical coverage information to potentially commit Medicare fraud.

    If you receive one of these calls, the best thing to do is hang up. Then call your local pharmacy to make sure there isn’t a real issue with your pharmacy account.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: medical license, medical scams, , physical therapist,   

    Healthcare professional loses life savings in licensing scam 

    Healthcare professional loses life savings in licensing scam

    By Greg Collier

    The scam we’re talking about today doesn’t affect every day consumers all that much. It’s geared more toward medical professionals. By medical professionals we mean any healthcare worker who requires a license to do their job. This not only includes doctors but also nurses and many other healthcare workers. However, this particular scam is a great example of how far con artists are willing to go to steal money from their victims.

    The licensing scam is not new. It’s been targeting medical professionals for a while now. Typically, a scammer will contact a licensed healthcare worker while posing as someone from their state government. The scammers will tell the healthcare worker that their license has been suspended due to a drug trafficking investigation. Sometimes the scammers will even go as far as to confuse the victim with official looking paperwork. The scammers will then try to pressure the victim into making some kind of payment so the healthcare worker can preserve their license.

    This recently happened to a physical therapist in Michigan. Scammers told her that her license was in jeopardy because it had been used in a drug trafficking scheme that had also laundered $2.4 million. They told her to go to the nearest UPS Store to receive notification in writing. The letter she received appeared to be on official letterhead from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The scammers even posed as agents from the LARA and the FBI. They convinced the physical therapist that she could spend six months in jail if she did not sign a federal bond agreement with the Department of Justice. This bond agreement was then paid by money transfer. The amount she paid to the scammers was not disclosed but was said to be her family’s life savings.

    The lengths these scammers went to has to be marveled at. The thing is with scams like this is they don’t have to fool many people. They only need to fool a few who are willing to pay large sums of money.

    And again, if anyone was under investigation for drug trafficking, you would be visited by law enforcement personally and wouldn’t just receive a phone call. Also, law enforcement agencies whether local, statewide, or federal will never ask for any kind of payment over the phone while simultaneously threatening arrest. If you receive a phone call like this, hang up and call whatever agency the caller is claiming to be from.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , medical scams, , , vaccination card,   

    Fake vaccine cards are showing up online 

    Fake vaccine cards are showing up online

    By Greg Collier

    Previously, the Better Business Bureau warned people who received the COVID-19 vaccine not to post pictures of their vaccine cards on social media. The thought behind this was not only could these pictures potentially lead to identity theft, but scammers could make phony vaccine cards. Now it seems that one of those chickens has come home to roost.

    The Better Business Bureau of Illinois is reporting that blank vaccine card knockoffs have started appearing for sale online. Reports state that the phony cards have shown up on eBay, OfferUp, and of course Craigslist. The cards are being sold for as much as $200.

    The danger behind these cards are the fact there are people who actively avoiding getting the vaccine. Vaccine cards may start being required for things like air travel or public gatherings. If unvaccinated people are start using these cards to get around restrictions, we could potentially start seeing another wave of infections. Considering the number of people who won’t even wear a mask to the supermarket, these cards could constitute a serious health hazard to the population. Not only that, but the cards could allow unvaccinated people who are potentially carrying the disease to return to public places like job sites or schools to spread new strains of the virus to unsuspecting victims.

    If you’re thinking about buying one of these cards you may want to rethink your plan. Using falsified government documents is a crime. Keep in mind that the authentic cards are furnished by the CDC, a branch of the American government. If someone were to use one of these cards to get on a plane, and they get caught, they could be facing a pretty big fine or even jail time.

    Instead, why not just get the vaccine when it becomes available for you in your state. The shot is a lot cheaper than buying one of these phony cards, and it won’t land you in jail.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , medical expenses, medical scams, ,   

    Family dealing with cancer plagued by scammers 

    Family dealing with cancer plagued by scammers

    By Greg Collier

    We’ve been writing about scams and scammers for a while now. You’d think we wouldn’t be surprised by any type of scam anymore or how pervasive they’ve become. Yet, we’re about to tell you about one of the most disheartening scams we’ve ever heard of.

    There is a family in Warwick, Rhode Island who are dealing with one of the most challenging things a family can go through. Their two-year-old son is battling a rare form of cancer. The community has come together to support the family. Not only through a GoFundMe but the local police are also collecting donations for the child’s medical expenses.

    Unfortunately, these days wherever there is hardship there’s someone looking to take advantage of the situation. In this case, there have been a few someones who have been trying to profit from this family’s struggle. As we previously mentioned, the only two official places where donations are being collected are GoFundMe and the local police department. However, multiple scammers have used the toddler’s name to try to collect money for themselves. Scammers are said to be using both Instagram and Cash App to falsely claim they’re collecting money for the two-year-old.

    If that wasn’t bad enough, scammers even approached the two-year-old’s father. He says that he received a text message from someone posing as the child’s doctor asking for money for the child’s healthcare. No family should have to deal with the anguish of worrying about both a child with cancer and the expenses that entails let alone having to deal with scammers who are potentially taking money that could have gone to the boy’s medical bills.

    It’s sad that we have to be skeptical about charity, but that’s the world we live in today. I’m certain that has caused many people to stop donating to worthy causes because of the number of scammers who pose as charities. You can still give to charity, you just need to do a little research first.

    If you can afford it and find it in your heart you can donate to the boy’s treatment fund at this GoFundMe.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: medical scams, , , ,   

    Scam tries to extort medical professionals 

    Scam tries to extort medical professionals

    By Greg Collier

    Scammers still haven’t gotten tired of COVID-19 related scams yet. However, instead of targeting the general public, some scammers have decided to go after medical professionals in the scammer’s quest for ill-gotten gain.

    This scam is similar to the Social Security scam where the scammers claim that your Social Security number has been suspended due to some fictitious crime that your number was supposedly attached to.

    In this scam, scammers are contacting nurses, physicians and pharmacists posing as the state of New York to tell the victims that their licenses have been suspended. However, a substantial payment just happens to be able to revers the suspension and can avoid the licensee any future fines.

    It’s not lost on us that these scammers are going after frontline workers in a state that has one of the highest concentration of COVID-19 patients. This is an example of a couple of scammer tactics. One is to try to pressure and already overworked system and the other is to take advantage of any crisis no matter how horrible.

    In this instance, the scammers are flooding their victims with mounds of official-looking paperwork that appear to be from such agencies as the state, the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, Trans Union and the New York state Office of Professions. The problem with this paperwork is that it can look legitimate since they contain information like the professional’s National Provider Identifier.

    In the long run, scammers may not be after money but instead after the personal information of medical professionals as most of the forms ask for Social Security numbers and the like.

    It is recommended that anyone receiving one of these calls or messages to ignore it and report it to the FBI if you’ve lost money, or the FTC and local police if you haven’t.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , medical scams, ,   

    Scams around the vaccine start to emerge 

    Scams around the vaccine start to emerge

    Previously, when the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine was announced, we discussed potential scams that could emerge during the rollout. Some of these scams are no longer theoretical as scammers have begun to try to find new victims.

    While each state has their own distribution schedule, one thing remains constant across the country. The COVID-19 vaccine will be afforded to most people at no cost outside a small administration fee charged by some providers. Historically, these administration fees have been largely negligible. This fact hasn’t stopped scammers from using a promise of the vaccine from stealing your money or information.

    In Missouri, scammers are posing as contact tracers and called at least one victim to tell them that the victim had been exposed at a local business. The scammer than read off the victim’d credit card number to them and asked for the three-digit security code. Legitimate contact tracers will never ask for your financial information.

    Upstate New York is said to be experiencing a similar scam. Scammers are not only posing as contact tracers, they are also asking for information such as your driver’s license number along with other identifying information. According to officials, contact tracers will only ask for your name, address, date of birth and phone number. They will never ask for your Social Security number.

    In Florida, one particular scam is disturbing. At least one scammer has been driving around in a van claiming to be from the county health department. He’s been going to people’s houses and asking residents for copies of their insurance cards in preparation for receiving the vaccine. Again, the vaccine is free and health insurance is not required to receive it.

    If you have concerns about when you’ll be able to receive the vaccine you can usually check with your state or county’s health department website.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , medical scams, ,   

    More COVID vaccine scams are on their way 

    More COVID vaccine scams are on their way

    We’ve already posted about scams that are expected to follow the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Even more scams are now expected if they haven’t started already.

    These scams will be relatively easy to avoid if you keep one piece of information in mind. As of this posting, the vaccine can not be purchased, online or otherwise. According to the website of the Centers for Disease Control, vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccination providers will be able to charge an administration fee for giving the shot to someone. In essence, the vaccine is free outside of a small provider fee.

    However, that won’t be stopping the scammers from trying to use the fear of the virus to get you to buy vaccines they don’t really have. According to reports, scammers will be sending out phishing emails stressing how urgent it is that you should get the vaccine. These emails could look like they’re coming from legitimate organizations like the CDC, Medicare, or even your own medical provider’s office.

    As with most phishing emails, the scammers are trying to get you to click on a link contained in the email. The link will likely do one of two things. It will either take you to a fake but legitimate-looking website that asks you for personal or payment information. Or it will inject some type of malware onto your device. If you give out your information, that could lead to identity theft and fraudulent purchases. If you allow malware onto your device, that could lead to your device being scanned for your information or it could be remotely held hostage with some ransomware.

    We know it sounds cliche, but literally, we are all in this together. We will all have the opportunity to be vaccinated against this destructive disease that has taken so many lives. If we’re all patient and work together, we could beat this virus before we know it.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , medical scams, ,   

    Scams will follow the vaccine rollout 

    Scams will follow the vaccine rollout

    Yesterday, vaccines for COVID-19 started rolling out across the country. Due to the initial limited supply, not everyone will be able to get one right away. The first round of vaccines are said to be going to frontline and essential workers. As you might expect, scammers are said to be already using the news of the vaccine in their latest scams.

    Scammers have been using the current pandemic to take advantage of consumers since almost day one. Previously, scammers have touted fake cures, used fake testing to gain medical information, and promised phony contact tracing jobs, just to name a few. So, it should come as no surprise that scammers are jumping on the news of a coronavirus vaccine.

    The latest scams seem to be taking one of two forms. The first one is that the scammers are calling victims and claiming to have the vaccine already. Unless they’re a medical facility or health department, they don’t have the vaccine. These scammers might be spoofing the numbers of local facilities. They’re probably looking to either take your money or steal your personal information if history is any indicator.

    The second form of the scam is scammers are promising their victims they can get them the vaccine earlier than they’re supposed to. Much like what happened with a similar scam involving the economic impact payments, no one can get you the vaccine early. Once again, this is probably another tactic of trying to get your money or information.

    When it comes to the vaccine, you should only listen to your physician or your local health department. No stranger that calls you out of the blue has your best interest in mind, They’re only looking to take from you in these confusing times.

    We’ll all be able to eventually get the vaccine as long as we remain patient and continue to practice current safety guidelines.

     
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