The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in a wave of fraudulent activity with scams that have included robocalls, telemarketers and fake test kits.
For example, fraudulent robocalls and telemarketers are offering free items and services, such as cleaning supplies and COVID-19 test kits in exchange for insurance information, which can be used for identity theft. Never give your personal information over the phone and treat your health insurance ID card number like a credit card number.
Here are some tips to avoid fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Do not give out personal information. Legitimate entities and organizations will not ask for this information.
- Do not click links in emails from unfamiliar sources. Hackers are disguising computer viruses by using COVID-19 in email subject lines.
- Do not use home testing or collection kits for COVID-19 if they have not been approved by the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration). More information about this can be found via the FDA.
- Be aware that currently there are no FDA-approved vaccinations for COVID-19.
- Do read COVID-19 information from verified sources such as the FDA, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG). They often provide new information daily.
- Do review your Explanation of Benefits when you receive them in the mail or online through your health plan member website to verify the services performed and that you recognize the provider.
Protect your information and report suspected scams to your health plan and/or HHS OIG. Blue Shield of California and Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan members can also report suspected fraud by sending an email to StopFraud@blueshieldca.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are closely monitoring the fraudulent activities surrounding this pandemic and want to ensure our members have the information they need to protect themselves,” said Terry Gilliland, M.D., executive vice president of Healthcare Quality and Affordability at Blue Shield of California. “We remain committed to promoting public health and safety and will continue to share relevant information as it becomes available.”
Blue Shield, which serves more than 4 million people, is actively encouraging members and employees to stay home from work (or school) if they are feeling ill. The health plan suggests reaching out to care services such as Teladoc, Heal, NurseHelp 24/7, or report their condition to their family doctor or urgent care clinic.
For the latest news on the coronavirus and prevention and treatment methods, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page.