COVID-19 Fraud & Scams

Unfortunately, scammers are hard at work attempting to scam you during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are using all forms of contact - telephone, postal mail, email, text messaging and in person - to take advantage of the unsuspecting for financial gain and access to personal or insurance information. 

FTC Fraud Data is updated daily and viewable by location, type of fraud, contact method, payment method and age of victims. 

Contact Tracing Scams

What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is a vital tool used in slowing the spread of COVID-19 to protect you, your family and your community. When an individual tests positive for COVID-19, contact tracing is the process of identifying everyone the individual has come in contact with to advise those individuals of their possible exposure. 

For more information on contact tracing, including a list of official phone numbers used for contact tracing in Florida, please visit the Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Response site or refer to their COVID-19 Contact Tracing Fact Sheet

Review the consumer tips below to ensure you will be able to spot a contact tracing scam.

Legitimate Contact Tracers Will Not Ask For Money

Legitimate contact tracers will not ask you for money. 

Contact tracing does not require any form of payment. If someone is demanding payment through a money transfer, gift card or cryptocurrency, they are not a part of the Florida Department of Health or any other official organization.

Legitimate Contact Tracers Will Not Ask For Credit Cards

Contact tracing does not require your bank account or credit card information. 

Do not share or confirm your personal or financial information, including bank account and credit card numbers, with anyone who contacts you. Contact tracing is a core public health function available at no charge.

Legitimate Contact Tracers Will Not Ask For Your Social Security Number

Legitimate contact tracers will never ask for your Social Security number. 

You will not need to share your Social Security number in the contact tracing process. Immediately cease any communication with anyone claiming to be a contact tracer that is demanding your Social Security number. 

Legitimate Contact Tracers Will Not Inquire About Immigration Status

Immigration status is not a part of contact tracing. 

Legitimate contact tracers will not inquire about your immigration status or request any documentation associated with it. 

Do Not Click On Links in Emails or Text Messages

Do not click on a link in a text message or email. 

Scammers are including links in fraudulent text messages and emails. Clicking on these links may download malware onto your device or put you at risk for a scammer to gain your personal, financial or insurance information. 

To report fake contact tracers:

COVID-19 Scams

Additional COVID-19 Scams

 

COVID-19 Rapid Testing Kit

Free COVID-19 Testing Kit


A person contacts you to offer a free COVID-19 test. You may be asked to provide your Medicare or Social Security Number or health insurance information to process the request. The test may not be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or may not be accurate or you may never receive the kit.
Consumer Tips:
  • Do not give out your personal information or verify details of your insurance coverage to any unsolicited callers or anyone that approaches you in person.
  • Contact your doctor, health insurance company or the Florida Health Department for information on COVID-19 testing procedures and locations in your area.

Florida Department of Health 24/7 COVID-19 Call Center: 1-866-779-6121

Protective Face Masks

Free Face or Respiratory Masks


Someone offers you free face or respiratory masks to prevent or recover from COVID-19. The person may request your Medicare or Social Security Number or insurance information in order to provide the masks. The masks may not be approved to prevent or treat COVID-19 or you may never receive the masks.
Consumer Tips:
  • Do not give out your personal information or verify details of your insurance coverage to any unsolicited callers or anyone that approaches you in person.
  • Contact your local county Florida Health Department to inquire if there are any free face masks available in your area.

County Health Departments - Location Finder Resource

Florida Department of Health 24/7 COVID-19 Call Center: 1-866-779-6121

Fake Charity


Fake Covid Charity Call
A charity solicits donations to assist those impacted by COVID-19. Your personal financial information will be requested and possibly used to make fraudulent purchases. 
Consumer Tips:
  • To determine if a charity is legitimate, refer to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Check-A-Charity resource that lists all charities currently registered with the State of Florida. 

Check-A-Charity Resource
www.FDACS.gov/ConsumerServices
1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352)

  • Do not trust the caller ID. While the name and number may appear to be that of a charity, it may be a scam artist attempting to obtain your personal information.

Low-price Health Insurance


Low-Price Health Insurance Online Ad Example
A person claiming to be an insurance agent or company representative contacts you unsolicited via phone, email or social media with an offer of low-price insurance coverage. The scammer may even place advertisements online. The price is typically too-good-to-be-true. You may be required to make a payment immediately and advised that the coverage will become effective instantly. The coverage will not be legitimate, which you may not determine until you attempt to obtain medical services or a claim is filed.
Consumer Tips:
  • Only purchase and make changes to your insurance policy through a licensed insurance agent or your insurance company directly. Verify identity before making any payments or providing personal information. 
  • Be sure that your insurance company or agent is licensed to do business in Florida.

To Verify an Insurance Company License:

Office of Insurance Regulation
Active Company Search
www.FLOIR.com/CompanySearch

To Verify an Insurance Agent License:
Florida Department of Financial Services
Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services 
www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Division/Agents
850.413.3137
  • Be leery of unsolicited calls. Companies should not call you unsolicited requesting personal information or ask you to verify details of your insurance coverage. 
  • Do not give out your personal information or verify details of your insurance coverage to any unsolicited callers or anyone that approaches you in person.

Vaccine, Preventative Medications or Immunity Pills


COVID-19 Vaccine
A medical professional claims that you can receive the first round of COVID-19 vaccination, or offers you preventative medications or immunity pills. The person will require your Medicare or Social Security Number or health insurance information to provide you with the vaccination or medications. The medications may not be approved by the FDA or proven to prevent COVID-19 or you may never receive the medications. 
Consumer Tips:
  • Only accept vaccinations and medications from verified licensed medical professionals such as your doctor, pharmacy or the Florida Department of Health. If you have any questions regarding COVID-19 vaccinations or medications being offered, please contact:

 Florida Department of Health 24/7 COVID-19 Call Center: 1-866-779-6121

  • Do not give out your personal information or verify details of your insurance coverage to any unsolicited callers or anyone that approaches you in person.
  • Do not trust the caller ID. While the name and number may appear to be that of a medical professional or health agency, it may be a scam artist attempting to obtain your personal information.

 

Federal Trade Commission COVID-19 Fraud Data

COVID-19 Resources

Florida Department of Health: COVID-19 Response Logo

Florida Department of Health

Federal Trade Commission Logo: Protecting America's Consumers

Federal Trade Commission


Contact the Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate


Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate
200 East Gaines Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399
Phone: (850) 413-5923
Email: YourFLVoice@MyFloridaCFO.com

Twitter Logo  Facebook Logo   @YourFLVoice

 Twitter   |   Facebook

 

Consumer-Alerts-Button