Scammers never seem to miss an opportunity to attempt to steal money from innocent people. The COVID19 pandemic is no exception. Several scams have been reported that everyone, but especially senior citizens, need to be aware of.
Scam #1—A person claiming to be with the IRS calls to ask for bank information so that they can auto-deposit your stimulus check. This is a scam. If and when the stimulus checks are approved they will be sent to the address the IRS has on file from your 2018 tax return (At the time of this writing, stimulus checks have not yet been approved by congress.)
Scam #2—Someone claiming to be from Medicare will call and want your personal information so they can set up your COVID19 vaccine or maybe preventative medicine. This is a scam. At this time there is no vaccine and not one expected to be available for about a year. The scammer will use the information you give them to make fake charges to your Medicare account or perhaps your insurance. Medicare will never call you to set this up. Another variation of this is a person or a couple of people show up at your door to administer your vaccine or give you medicine. When you let them in to accept your fake medicine they will try robbing your home. Never let unknown people into your home.
Scam #3—This is an email that appears to be coming from the US Department of Treasury. They are offering grants or stimulus payments in exchange for your personal information, an advance fee or in exchange for gift cards. The scammer will use the information to make withdrawals from your bank account.
To avoid scams in general:
1) Don’t give any personal information about your credit card numbers, banking information, insurance or Medicare accounts, social security numbers or any other personal information to anyone who calls you, even if they say they are from the government.
2) Never let people who show up at your door into your house, even if they have an official-looking uniform or ID badge or credentials. They could be scammers or robbers.
3) If you need work done on your house or property, call a local person with a good recommendation from someone you know and trust. Don’t trust a door-to-door salesperson. (some are totally honest, but you don’t know!)
4) Be aware that scammers are coming up with new ways to steal from us each day. If anything seems a little bit off—hang up the phone or close your door and get someone you trust to help you figure out the best thing to do. You can report scams or attempted scams to the FBI at this web-site: www.ic3.gov.
General information about COVID19 can be found at this web-site: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about
By Penny King, Family and Consumer Sciences & 4H youth development, Rogers County Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.