LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — As the coronavirus pandemic continues, scammers are using the confusion as an opportunity to steal money and personal information.
13 Action News spoke with AARP's Director of Fraud Prevention Programs, Kathy Stokes, about the scams they're seeing right now. She has some advice for those who are vulnerable to fraud during this crisis.
As the number of corona virus cases increase so do the types of scams out there like offers to clean or upgrade a-c units promising to protect you against the virus.
Crooks are taking advantage of Americans’ fears and anxiety during the pandemic.
Stokes says watch out for anyone: offering a COVID-19 cure or promising to reserve a vaccine for you. Here’s something new: scammers setting up fake testing sites hoping you won’t check ahead if it’s legitimate. "You drive through, they give you a swab, they charge you 250 dollars or whatever, or more importantly they seek to get your healthcare information, your insurance or your medicare number which is like gold for them because once they have that number they can start billing medicare or health insurance companies fraudulently."
So keep your guard up against suspicious calls, texts, and emails.
"If somebody calls you and says they’re from the federal government and they just need your banking information to get your stimulus check, that’s a scam."
When I checked AARP’s scam tracker — a neighbor in the 89129 area code reported receiving an email about someone claiming to have COVID-19 asking for help in distributing an inheritance of “9 point 2 million dollars as her husband’s last wish.”
Stokes says though anyone can be a victim, older Americans are at a higher risk.
"What we need to be doing is engaging with them as much as we can. Sharing what they learned today by listening to your show and that is in essence inoculate them from a scam that comes their way."
AARP's coronavirus resources are available at www.aarp.org/coronavirus. ARP’s toll-free Fraud Watch Network helpline is 877-908-3360. It's free to non-members as well.
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