Sunday, April 26, 2020

COVID-19 insurance scams

This week at work I found another great site that informs the public about the latest scams. It is the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud at

According to the coalition, the top five COVID-19 insurance scams are:

  • Fake "corona" insurance.
  • Cancelled health insurance.
  • Corona medicines, tests.
  • Senior scams.
  • Bogus travel insurance. 

To download this infographic and others, visit

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Beware COVID-19 scams

There are dozens of COVID-19 related scams running rampant right now. The best way to stay up-to-date on those scams is to subscribe to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) blog. To do this, navigate to in your browser and click the blue Get Email Updates button.

Here is a summary of how scammers are exploiting our fears surrounding Coronavirus:, along with these tips on avoiding scams today and well into the future:
  • Don’t respond to texts, emails or calls about checks from the government. The details are still coming together.
  • Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. There are no products proven to treat or prevent COVID-19 at this time.
  • Hang up on robocalls. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from low-priced health insurance to work-at-home schemes.
  • Watch for emails claiming to be from the CDC or WHO. Use sites like and to get the latest information. And don’t click on links from sources you don’t know.
  • Do your homework when it comes to donations. Never donate in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money.
Don't fall for anyone trying to sell you masks or other medical equipment. Hang up on "tech support" callers. Don't provide personal or sensitive information to callers or emailers. Avoid clicking links and opening attachments in email. Give only to charities that you are familiar with. Be smart and don't click. 

Report scams to the FTC at

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Avoiding SSA scams during COVID-19

During the world pandemic, new scams are popping up right and left. The FTC has posted a number of tricks to watch out for, including Social Security Administration (SSA) impersonations.

Two key things to remember:

  • The SSA will never call you or email you with threats of losing benefits or suspending your Social Security Number (SSN). 
  • Never give your SSN out to any unexpected caller or in response to an email. 

Here is the succinct article telling you exactly what to look out for:

Tell your family and friends about these hacks. The only way we can beat the bad guys is to share information with each other.

And remember, to protect your identity you need to freeze your credit. Assume that your SSN is already for sale on the dark web. See for more information. Don't forget to freeze credit for your underage children as well.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Grandparents: be aware of new twist on old scam

Several years ago, the "family emergency" scams--also known as the "grandparents" scam based on the use of elderly targets, started making the rounds and creating significant monetary loss for our old folks. The grandparents would receive a call from someone claiming to be a grandchild; the caller then set them up with a dramatic story about being in trouble with the law and needing upwards of $3,000 cash wired right away to pay legal fees.

One of my mom's neighbors fell for this a few years ago and lost $2,800. Once the money is wired, you can never get it back. For more information on the original scam, see

Today, with the world coronavirus pandemic in play, there's a new twist on the old scam: The imposter "grandchild" caller urgently claims that he/she is sick and/or stuck overseas and needs money wired immediately to get healthcare or transport home.

Here is the full story on the Federal Trade Commission web site

Here are some tips from the FTC to know about in case you receive a panicked phone call, email or text from a purported family member claiming to be in a dire situation and needing cash fast:

  • Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is.
  • Verify the person’s identity by asking questions that a stranger couldn’t possibly answer.
  • Call a phone number for your this "family member" that you know to be genuine.
  • Check the story out with someone else in your family or circle of friends, even if you’ve been told to keep it a secret.
  • Do not wire money; do not send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier.
  • Report possible fraud at or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.