Avoid COVID-19 Scams
With COVID-19 unfortunately still a part of our lives, so are the multitude of scams created to benefit from the virus. We’re here to provide the information you need to avoid COVID-19 scams. Look out for these scams and understand what COVID-19 related supports are available to you through Medicare and related health insurances
Vaccines and Boosters
Scams are still out there targeting older adults wanting a COVID-19 vaccine or booster. Make sure you go to a legitimate location for a COVID-19 vaccine or booster. Your safest options will be to get the shot from your health care provider or a pharmacy. A legitimate health care provider or pharmacy will not need additional personal information such as your social security number, bank account or credit card number in order to provide the vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccine and booster costs are covered under Medicare – you will not pay anything out of pocket for the vaccine or its administration. When receiving a vaccine you will need to show your red, white and blue Medicare card if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan.
Equipment and Supplies
While scams trying to get you to buy equipment and supplies connected to COVID have decreased, they are still out there. Common scams include emails, calls or online advertisements trying to sell masks or tests. Never agree to purchase equipment or supplies from unknown callers, emails or online advertisements. If you do need supplies, talk to your health care provider to ensure you are dealing with reputable suppliers.
When it comes to at-home tests, be aware that Medicare beneficiaries are eligible for free at-home tests. If you have Medicare Part B, or are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan (also called Part C), you can get up to eight free over-the-counter tests each month. Check with a local pharmacy or health care provider for more details.
Currently, the need for testing for the virus continues. Another scam to be on the lookout for is fraudulent COVID-19 test sites. Often operated out of a portable tent in a parking lot, or even a van, these sites usually have signage highlighting that they provide “free” tests. But these sites are anything but free for those that use them.
Fraudulent COVID-19 test site operators want to get your Medicare number, insurance information or other identity information in order to commit fraud. They will ask you for as much personal information as they can get from you. Free often actually means a hefty bill for your insurance or you as a consumer. Many people are unaware of any charges until a bill arrives in the mail, and these fraudulent sites fail to provide any service at all. You will not be given a true test and you will not receive any information about your COVID-19 status.
If you see a COVID-19 test site, confirm that it is legitimate before you visit for a test. A good way to verify a test site’s legitimacy is by checking with your local public health department.
By taking a few extra steps to verify legitimacy, you can get the services you need and avoid the scams.