Protect Yourself Against COVID-19 Scams

Men dressed in white lab coats, masks, and gloves knocked on doors in South Florida neighborhoods, claiming they were from a government health agency and wanted to come in to test residents for COVID-19.

Some people have received text messages saying they can get $1,000 as part of a federal COVID-19 stimulus program. All they have to do is click a link. And older adults have received robocalls offering to send free COVID-19 tests. The only thing needed to get the process started is the older adults’ Medicare member number.

Those are among the potential coronavirus-related scams that have been reported to the Florida Office of the Attorney General in the past few weeks. It’s not an unexpected development. In uncertain times, scammers turn out in full force to take advantage of people who are stressed out and fearful.

It’s important to protect yourself against swindlers who prey on the emotions of people during a crisis, especially those who are vulnerable or aren’t tech-savvy. Be cautious about offers you see online or on social media for COVID-19 testing and other services. Otherwise, the consequences could be staggering. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

If the men in lab coats had gotten into the homes, they may have robbed the residents who lived there. If the people who received the text messages had clicked the link, malware would probably have infected their computers, tablets or phones. And if the older adults had shared their Medicare numbers, someone may have gotten access to their personal information.

Our nurses and service teams routinely call members. If you receive a call from someone who says they’re from Florida Blue, there are ways to confirm it’s actually Florida Blue. They’ll always begin the call by confirming your identity. But they’ll never ask for your banking information or your full Social Security number. If you want to verify the call was legitimate, call Florida Blue back at the number on the back of your member ID card and talk with the customer service team.

Florida Blue also works with vendors who may contact you, but they will let you know they are calling on behalf of Florida Blue and will never ask for banking or financial information.

Here’s some information to help inform and protect you:

About the Author

Marilyn Young

Marilyn Young spent more than 30 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining GuideWell.