Be alert for COVID-19 scammers

The Iowa Healthcare Collaborative alerted Veterans Memorial Hospital of news of COVID-19 scams which they had received from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Scammers are using telemarketing calls, text messages, social media platforms, and door-to-door visits to perpetrate COVID-19-related scams.

Examples shared by the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative included:

• Bad actors are trying to capitalize on the roll-out of COVID vaccines. Anyone calling or texting and asking for payment for a vaccine is a scammer.
• COVID-19 text scams may falsely advertise a cure or offer bogus tests.
• Robocall scams have focused on health and financial concerns connected to COVID-19.
• As online shopping increases, so do delivery notification scam calls and texts.
• Fraudsters trying to  steal insurance information, money or both.
• Contact tracing scams are on the rise.
• Coronavirus scammers are targeting older Americans.
• Peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile payment apps help consumers avoid contact with vendors, but missteps in P2P apps use can be costly.

Tips for Avoiding COVID-19 Scams
• Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers, or any others that appear suspicious.
• Never share personal or financial information via email, text messages or over the phone.
• Be cautious when being pressured to share any information or make a payment immediately.
• Scammers often spoof phone numbers to trick people into answering or responding. Remember that government agencies will never call to ask for personal information or money.
• Do not click any links in a text message. If a friend sends a text with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call them to make sure they weren’t hacked.
• Always check on a charity (for example, by calling or looking at its actual website) before donating.

Those who think they’ve been a victim of a coronavirus scam, contact law enforcement immediately. File coronavirus scam complaints online with the Federal Trade Commission at Refer to consumer resources from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at for more information relating to the prevention of coronavirus scams.