Scammers taking advantage of COVID-19 chaos

Authorities are warning you to beware of scams related to the coronavirus epidemic.

Agencies and organizations ranging from the Indiana State Police and the Indiana Attorney General, to the Indiana Department of Insurance and Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop are urging you to be on the alert for those trying to take advantage of the coronavirus upheaval to take your money.

Tim Maniscalo from the Greater Indianapolis Better Business Bureau explains a common scam going around where scammers are offering a cure for COVID-19. Maniscalo stressed that there is no cure for the coronavirus despite the celebrities they may line up for endorsements.

During a video update to the community earlier this week, Mayor Lienhoop explained one scam that is being reported in Columbus. People are going door to door and selling fake test kits for coronavirus. The mayor said that there is no home test and if you think you need testing you need to go through the process set up by Columbus Regional Health.

Indiana State Police are warning that many common phone scams are being reworked with a coronavirus angle, pretending to be a hospital warning you that a loved one is in their care and needs payment for treatment, or claiming to be with a health organization seeking to get you to give out personal information.

The Indiana Department of Insurance is warning of a scam targeting Medicare beneficiaries, offering COVID-19 tests in exchange for personal details including Medicare information.

The personal information collected can be used to fraudulently bill Federal health care programs and commit medical identity theft. If Medicare or Medicaid denies the claim for an unapproved test, the beneficiary could be responsible for the cost.

The fraudsters are targeting beneficiaries in a number of ways, including telemarketing calls, social media platforms, and door-to-door visits.