Two state agencies – the Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Insurance – are warning of scammers preying on the public’s fears of the coronavirus pandemic.
Attorney General Josh Stein said their office has received reports of scammers going door to door in neighborhoods selling coronavirus testing kits and cleaning supplies. This activity could be both a scam and a pretense to enter homes, possibly to commit robbery or other criminal acts.
Stein wants citizens to know:
• Currently, there are no door-to-door coronavirus testing options. No one from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services or any other health agency will come to your home to offer to provide tests for a charge.
• Be skeptical of people selling miracle cures, including vaccinations and medications. If you are unsure about a product, check with a doctor before you buy it. Don’t let anyone rush you with high-pressure pitches and cure-all promises.
• Take a moment before you buy in-demand items like hand sanitizers, face masks, cleaning products or groceries. Don’t overstock on supplies you may not need. North Carolina’s price-gouging law is in effect, which makes it illegal to charge too much during a crisis. Report potential price gouging at ncdoj.gov/gouging [ncdoj.gov] or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.
North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey and The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud have identified these scams:
• Fake “corona” insurance. Fake health insurance agents may try to sell low-priced insurance to cover coronavirus treatment. Most standard health insurance policies provide coverage for coronavirus treatment.
• Canceled heath insurance. Beware of bogus calls warning your health insurance was canceled. These scammers may give you a toll-free number to call or you may be urged to click on a link in an email, resulting in malware on your electronic device. Most of these are attempts to steal your personal information. If you have a question regarding your health insurance, call the number on your insurance card.
• Senior scams. Beware of free virus tests at senior centers, health fairs or in your home. These scammers might ask for your Medicare number, Social Security number or other information to steal your medical or personal identity.
• Bogus travel insurance. Be wary of pitches for travel insurance that claim to cover coronavirus-related trip cancellations. Most standard travel insurance policies do not cover viral outbreaks or pandemics unless you are sick or if you have an expensive “cancel for any reason” policy.
People with questions can speak to a consumer specialist at the N.C. Department of Insurance by calling 855-408-1212. To report suspected fraud, contact the Department’s Criminal Investigations Division at 919-807-6840. Callers may remain anonymous.
To learn more about coronavirus scams here: https://ncdoj.gov.