COVID-19 has changed our lives as we know it. While many of us are struggling to find our new normal, it appears to be business as usual for scammers. Multiple governmental agencies including the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and our very own Michigan Attorney General have issued warnings to make sure we are aware of the various scams out there.
- Fake CDC calls asking people to reserve COVID-19 vaccines
- Fake vaccine kits offered by website "coronavirusmedicalkit.com"
- Local companies based in Rockford are selling phony COVID-19 protection patch
- Scam emails are sent to individuals claiming their stimulus check is waiting for them. All they have to do is send over personal information such as bank account and Social Security Number.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is cautioning the public about fraud scams related to COVID-19.
Protect yourself and be informed
Scam artists who emerge during a health crisis are nothing new. In times of uncertainty and distress, it's human nature to be reactive. We become more vulnerable to these types of scams. Protect yourself by going to reliable sources of information on COVID-19. It’s also important to know:
- While scientists are actively working on developing one, there is no vaccine for COVID-19 currently available.
- To date, the FDA has not authorized any test that is available to purchase for testing yourself at home for COVID-19.
- A physician or other trusted healthcare provider should assess your condition and approve any requests for COVID-19 testing.
Below is a compilation of tips and recommendations from the various government agencies.
- Be aware of unsolicited emails offering information, supplies or treatment for COVID-19. Legitimate health authorities will not contact the general public this way.
- Do not click on links or open email attachments from unknown or verified sources. Doing so could download a virus onto your computer or device.
- Ignore offers for a COVID-19 vaccine, cure or treatment.
- Independently verify the identity of any company, charity or individual that contacts you regarding COVID-19.
- Check the website and email addresses offering information, products, or services related to COVID-19. Know that scammers will use addresses that look similar to the entities they are impersonating (cdc.com instead of cdc.gov).
If you have any questions or concerns related to this and other fraud, waste and abuse scams, contact the Special Investigations Unit.