The US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) has issued a fraud alert related to scammers preying upon the public’s fears surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
These swindlers are offering unapproved COVID-19 test kits to the public to Medicare beficiaries in exchange for personal details, including Medicare information. These fraudsters aim to use this personal and medical data for identity theft and to unlawfully generate billings to federal healthcare programs. These bogus test kits are presented through telemarketing calls, social media platforms, and door-to-door visits.
“We will not tolerate these scams in which fraudsters try to enrich themselves by preying on unsuspecting patients to steal personal and medical identity information,” said Principal Deputy Inspector General Christi A. Grimm. “With our law enforcement partners, we will be vigilant in our investigation and enforcement against those who exploit this emergency.”
So how can you protect yourself?
- Beneficiaries should be cautious of unsolicited requests for their Medicare or Medicaid numbers.
- Be suspicious of any unexpected calls or visitors offering COVID-19 tests or supplies. If your personal information is compromised, it may be used in other fraud schemes.
- Ignore offers or advertisements for COVID-19 testing or treatment on social media.
- A physician or other trusted healthcare provider should assess your condition and approve any requests for COVID-19 testing.
If you suspect COVID-19 fraud, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721 or email@example.com.
Dr. Davis practices general dentistry in Santa Fe, NM. He assists as an expert witness in dental fraud and malpractice legal cases. He currently chairs the Santa Fe District Dental Society Peer-Review Committee and serves as a state dental association member to its house of delegates. He extensively writes and lectures on related matters. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or smilesofsantafe.com.