RALEIGH — North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey joins the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud in urging residents to be on guard against scammers preying on fears related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Crooks will stop at nothing to scam the public, including using the coronavirus as a means of stealing your money, or worse your personal identity,” Causey said. “If you get an unsolicited visit, call or email offering “corona” insurance, free or low-costs tests, or seeking personal information, it’s best to close the door, hang up, or exit out of the email and notify the authorities.”
The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud has identified the top five coronavirus scams:
» Fake “corona” insurance: Fake health insurance agents may try to sell low-priced insurance to cover coronavirus treatment. Most standard health insurance policies provide coverage for coronavirus treatment. If you receive one of these calls, hang up on the caller or robocall.
» Canceled health insurance: Beware of bogus calls warning you that your health insurance was canceled. These scammers may give a toll-free number to call or may be urge someone to click on a link in an email. Clicking on the link could result in the scammer installing malware on an electronic device. Most of these are attempts to steal personal information. Anyone with questions should call the number on the back of their insurance card.
» Corona medicines and tests: Scammers are peddling fake vaccines, drugs, all-natural or organic treatments that are “insured and paid for” by a health insurance policy. The novel coronavirus is new. There is no known cure.
» Senior scams: Beware of free virus tests at senior centers, health fairs or in one’s home. These scammers might ask for a Medicare number, Social Security number or other information to steal your medical or personal identity. Talk to a doctor or local health department with questions about testing. Call a health insurer to answer coverage questions.
» Bogus travel insurance: Be wary of pitches for travel insurance that claim to cover coronavirus-related trip cancellations. Most standard travel insurance policies do not cover viral outbreaks or pandemics unless someone is sick or if there is an expensive “cancel for any reason” policy. Know what an insurance policy does and doesn’t cover.
Call 855-408-1212 to speak to a consumer specialist with the N.C. Department of Insurance with any questions. To report suspected fraud, contact the N.C. Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division at 919-807-6840. Callers can remain anonymous.