Chautauqua County is notifying residents of several COVID-19-related fraud alerts recently issued by federal and state departments.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises scammers are offering fake COVID-19 tests to Medicare recipients in exchange for their personal information. They then use this personal information as part of a broader identity theft scam to drain the bank accounts of their victims.
HHS advises the following:
- Beneficiaries should be cautious of unsolicited requests for their Medicare or Medicaid numbers.
- Be suspicious of any unexpected calls or visitors offering COVID-19 tests or supplies. If your personal information is compromised, it may be used in other fraud schemes.
- Ignore offers or advertisements for COVID-19 testing or treatments on social media sites.
- A physician or other trusted healthcare provider should assess your condition and approve any requests for COVID-19 testing.
New York State Office of Aging advises scammers are offering grants for home repairs. Older adults are receiving postcards addressed to “resident” offering to help secure grants for home repairs. To protect yourself:
- Do not answer your telephone if you do not recognize the caller or number.
- Never share personal information over the telephone, like your Medicare number, Social Security number or banking information.
- Never pay a fee to a company that says it will help you get a grant.
- Block or unfriend anyone who offers unsolicited grant information on social media. Even if you are “friends” with that person – they may have been hacked.
- Only use local contractors with validated references to do work in your home.