Financially protecting yourself against COVID-19 scams
As COVID-19 continues to affect our communities, we are focused on keeping our members up to date with information that can help them navigate these uncertain times. In any stressful situation, consumers are more vulnerable to financial scams and the current COVID-19 pandemic is no different. Regence’s Director of Special Investigations Unit Randy Maurer shares best practices to avoid falling victim to a COVID-19 scam.
As of March 16, COVID-19 testing availability remains limited, and there are no approved vaccines, drugs, or investigational products available to treat or prevent the virus. You can protect yourself and your family from those seeking to profit from fraudulent coronavirus testing, treatment, and prevention by taking the following actions.
If you receive a suspicious call
- Beware of scammers offering testing or treatment that’s unproven, ineffective, or dangerous; or organizations claiming to be charitable arms raising money for victims.
- Do not disclose your insurance, credit card number, or other financial information to anyone contacting you; call an organization back at their official phone number instead to ensure you’re speaking with who they say they are.
- If you’re tempted to buy an unproven product, or one with questionable claims, check with your doctor or other health care professional first.
Risky online behavior
- Think before you click on a link in your inbox or online.
- If something doesn’t seem right about an email, delete it.
- Hover over any URLs to view the full address and examine it carefully for misspellings or irregularities.
- Don’t open email attachments from unknown senders.
Educating yourself and reporting potentially fraudulent behavior
- Visit the FDA for information about the development and approval of treatments for coronavirus.
- Report products claiming to treat, cure, or prevent coronavirus to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
- Report unauthorized use of your insurance card at regence.com/fraud.
Finally, keep up to date with information directly from official sources, such as those below, rather than relying on social media or potentially unvetted news sources. Thank you for your diligence, and please stay safe.
Additional COVID-19 scam-related resources
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus
- World Health Organization (WHO) on Beware of criminals pretending to be WHO
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) on COVID-19