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  • 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.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 11, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: clinical trial, , , medical scams,   

    COVID drug trial scam emerges 

    COVID drug trial scam emerges

    With the news of a potential COVID-19 vaccine being possibly on the horizon, scammers have wasted no time in using this news to their advantage. The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning about a new COVID-related scam that could show up on your phone.

    According to the BBB, scammers are sending text messages claiming to offer money in exchange for being part of a COVID-19 clinical trial. To be more specific, the text messages are saying that you could make $1200 as a volunteer in a COVID study. The text message then requests that you click on an included link to see if you qualify.

    The main goal of the scam is to get you to click on the link included in the text message. A few things could happen if you do click on the link. You could end up with some type of malware infecting your device. This malware could be used to hijack your device in order to read your contacts list so the scammers can find more targets. Malware could also be used to find your personal and financial information that’s kept on your device. The link could also take you to a phony website that requests your personal and financial information to see if you ‘qualify’ for the phony trial. In any case, it could mean identity theft or worse.

    Now, there are legitimate clinical trials that you can sign up for and possibly get paid if you qualify. Some of these trials even advertise to find potential applicants. However, what they do not do is send out unsolicited text messages to random people, Usually, these trials are looking for a specific type of person. In many cases, the trials are looking for people who may suffer from a certain illness or condition that’s specific to their trial. They won’t ask for your financial information either. Like many scams, the scammers may try to get you to make a payment first to get into their phony trial.

    If you receive one of these text messages, your best course of action is to delete the text and block the number. Even if you text them to stop, the scammers will then know that they found a working number and may target you for future scams.

     
  • 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.

     
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