COVID-19 Scams to Watch Out For

COVID-19 Scams to Watch Out For

COVID-19 scams

During these turbulent times, it’s more important than ever to help keep yourself and your family safe. Unfortunately, scammers and thieves alike will use this time to attempt to prey upon those who are vulnerable. Learn how to identify the latest COVID-19 scams with these helpful tips.

1. Social Security Benefits Are NOT Affected by COVID-19

Social security scams have been around for a long time, but many scammers are using the novel coronavirus to scare victims into divulging their personal information or giving them money. 

If you receive a letter, phone call, text message, or email from someone claiming that your social security disability benefits or your retirement benefits have been suspended or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, this is an obvious tip-off that someone is trying to scam you.

Although SSA offices remain closed, social security payments will continue as scheduled per the Social Security Office of the Inspector General.

2. The IRS Will Not Ask For Your Payment Information

With the recent disbursement of coronavirus stimulus checks, the IRS has seen an uptick in fraudulent activity and COVID-19 scams. Scammers may contact you through phone, email, or regular mail asking for your banking information in order to process your economic impact payment. 

Please be aware that direct deposit information used to file your 2018 or 2019 taxes will most likely be used to send your coronavirus stimulus check. If direct deposit information is not available, the IRS will send you a paper check by USPS mail. The IRS will not contact you asking for this information.

The only secure way to check the status of your economic impact payment is by using the IRS Get My Payment tool. If you did not file taxes for 2018 or 2019, you can also safely update your payment information on the IRS website.

3. COVID-19 Tests Are Not Available Door-to-Door or by Mail 

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, some scammers have reportedly attempted to sell fake COVID-19 tests either over the phone, through email, or door-to-door. The scammer will usually ask the victim for their personal details, including Medicare information, in exchange for a COVID-19 test. 

The scammer can use your personal information to fraudulently bill federal health care programs or commit medical identity theft. Remember, the only way to obtain a legitimate COVID-19 test at this time is from a licensed medical provider or at an official testing center.

4. Additional Tips to Avoid Scams

In addition to the tips outlined above, there are other more general things you can do to protect yourself from potential scams. These include:

  • Don’t trust your caller ID. Scammers may use tactics like spoofing to make fraudulent phone numbers that look like they are coming from the IRS or another agency. Do not divulge personal information based on the caller ID alone. Remember, the SSA and IRS will not ask for these details over the phone.
  • If someone is asking you to wire money or purchase gift cards, this is most likely a scam. Do not engage with callers or emails asking for these kinds of transfers. Report suspected COVID-19 scams to the National Center for Disaster Fraud by calling 1-866-720-5721 or by emailing [email protected].
  • The SSA will never suspend your social security number or your bank accounts. Anyone who tries to persuade you to divulge information or pay money to avoid these suspensions is a scammer.

The best way to avoid scams is to stay informed. The more often you can recognize these scammers and frauds for what they are, the less likely you are to inadvertently compromise your personal information or benefits. 

To find out more about protecting your SSDA and retirement benefits contact the SSA office directly. If you need assistance applying for or appealing your disability claim, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA today at 602-952-3200. You can also get in touch by using our LiveChat service, or by filling out our secure contact form.

Leave a Reply