Fraud Alert: Fraudsters taking advantage of the Coronavirus
Friday, March 20, 2020
Fraud Alert: Fraudsters taking advantage of the Coronavirus
PITTSBURGH (March 20, 2020) — Highmark is focused on protecting its members from fraudsters who will take advantage of these uncertain times. Suggestions for fraud alerts to be considered by Highmark include:
Be wary of advertisements for vaccinations or medications to treat the virus which are not authorized by the CDC, your local health department or your physician
Always be on the lookout for unexplained or unauthorized charges appearing on your Explanation of Benefits statement
Be aware of spear phishing emails referencing Coronavirus or COVID-19 which may contain malware
Be wary of advertisements offering health products that are ineffective against Coronavirus or COVID-19 i.e. herbal teas, supplements, oils or ointments. Seek guidance from your physician
Do not accept telemarketing or “Robo-Calls” from callers you did not authorize to call you.
Highmark will not call their members offering free services or medication. Members may receive calls from entities stating they are Highmark or work with their insurance. Highmark would never ask a member for their insurance number, address or other personal information. Be wary of calls that ask for this information and do not conduct the standard verification process that Highmark would when speaking to their members.
Be wary of scammers going door to door offering free test kits in exchange for insurance information or cash. Don’t accept any other medications (i.e., inhalers). Door to door scammers may also be there to commit other crimes such as robbery.
These additional COVID-19 scams were supplied by law enforcement sources for awareness:
Treatment scams: Scammers are offering to sell fake cures, vaccines, and advice on unproven treatments for COVID-19.
Supply scams: Scammers are creating fake shops, websites, social media accounts, and email addresses claiming to sell medical supplies currently in high demand, such as surgical masks. When consumers attempt to purchase supplies through these channels, fraudsters pocket the money and never provide the promised supplies.
Provider scams: Scammers are also contacting people by phone and email, pretending to be doctors and hospitals that have treated a friend or relative for COVID-19, and demanding payment for that treatment.
Charity scams: Scammers are soliciting donations for individuals, groups, and areas affected by COVID-19.
Phishing scams: Scammers posing as national and global health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are sending phishing emails designed to trick recipients into downloading malware or providing personal identifying and financial information.
App scams: Scammers are also creating and manipulating mobile apps designed to track the spread of COVID-19 to insert malware that will compromise users’ devices and personal information.
Investment scams: Scammers are offering online promotions on various platforms, including social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure COVID-19, and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result. These promotions are often styled as “research reports,” make predictions of a specific “target price,” and relate to microcap stocks, or low-priced stocks issued by the smallest of companies with limited publicly available information.
Price Gouging scams: Individuals and businesses may sell essential goods, like hand sanitizer, for significantly higher prices than in a non-emergency setting. It is legally considered price gouging when the price of one of these products increases more than 20 percent its price one week prior to an emergency declaration from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
All references to “Highmark” in this document are references to the Highmark company that is providing the member’s health benefits or health benefit administration and/or to one or more of its affiliated Blue companies. This website is operated by Highmark, Inc. and is not the Health Insurance Marketplace website. It also does not display all Qualified Health Plans available through the Health Insurance Marketplace website. To see all available Qualified Health Plan options, go to the Health Insurance Marketplace website at HealthCare.gov.
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield or Highmark Blue Shield are Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and/or Part D plans with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in these plans depends on contract renewal. ®Blue Cross, Blue Shield and the Cross and Shield symbols are registered service marks of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. Benefits and/or benefit administration may be provided by or through the following entities, which are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association: Western and Northeastern PA: Highmark Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Highmark Choice Company, Highmark Health Insurance Company, Highmark Coverage Advantage Inc., Highmark Benefits Group Inc., First Priority Health, First Priority Life or Highmark Senior Health Company. Central and Southeastern PA: Highmark Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Shield, Highmark Benefits Group Inc., Highmark Health Insurance Company, Highmark Choice Company or Highmark Senior Health Company. PA: Your plan may not cover all your health care expenses. Read your plan materials carefully to determine which health care services are covered. For more information, call the number on the back of your member ID card or, if not a member, call 866-459-4418. Delaware: Highmark BCBSD Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. West Virginia: Highmark West Virginia Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Highmark Health Insurance Company or Highmark Senior Solutions Company. Visit our website to view the Access Plan required by the Health Benefit Plan Network Access and Adequacy Act. You may also request a copy by contacting us at the number on the back of your ID card. Western NY: Highmark Western and Northeastern New York Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. Northeastern NY: Highmark Western and Northeastern New York Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Shield.
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