FALLS CHURCH, Virginia –
While medical professionals in the U.S. and overseas are working hard to combat the coronavirus, some people are using this as an opportunity to take advantage of others.
If you receive a call from someone offering to send you a COVID-19 testing kit, you could be the target of a scam. Below are facts about testing and ways you can prevent your TRICARE information from being stolen.
Know the testing process
COVID-19 testing isn’t available for everyone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your medical provider is the only one who can determine if you need testing. So be sure to talk to him or her if you’re experiencing symptoms. The main symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Shortness of breath
Other risk factors include:
- If you’ve come into contact with someone known to have COVID-19.
- If you recently traveled to a CDC-confirmed infected region.
“Scammers know COVID-19 testing kits are in high demand,” says Dr. John Kugler, chief of the Clinical Support Division at the Defense Health Agency. “They’re targeting beneficiaries who may be unaware of the testing process and looking to steal their personal information. Your health care provider will usually determine and order the test if you need it, so check with your doctor’s office if someone else offers you testing.”
What to do if someone calls
The people involved in the COVID-19 testing kit scam are looking to steal personal information from you. This could be your Social Security, credit card, or bank account numbers. Don’t give them the opportunity to do it.
If you receive a call about coronavirus testing, submit a fraud report online to the DHA Program Integrity Office. Also, report it to your TRICARE regional contractor.
Look out for other scams
Testing kit calls aren’t the only way scammers are taking advantage of the COVID-19 outbreak. They’re on social media, too.
The Securities and Exchange Commission recently put out a statement on avoiding coronavirus-related investment scams. When using social networks, like Twitter or Facebook, be wary of people you don’t know who ask for money.