Phone scams related to coronavirus are on rise

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The Federal Communications Commission is urging people to be vigilant against new phone scams, which are attempting to take advantage of the COVID-19 health crisis and the fact that more people are sitting at home.

Be aware of these common scam tactics and remember to never give out personal information to someone over the phone. The best way to handle a scam call is to simply hang up. If the caller alleges they are calling from a specific organization such as the health department, the police department or the IRS, hang up and call that organization to ask about the authenticity of the call.

Common coronavirus scams

Fake test kits or cures - The caller might claim that at-home test kits or cures are available for purchase and ask for health insurance or personal financial and medical information. No at-home test has been approved by the Food and Drug and Administration. The only way to get tested in Jefferson County is by calling the Jefferson Healthcare hotline at 360-344-3094.

Federal relief - The caller might say they are calling from a federal agency such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the IRS and claim they need your Social Security number and personal information for you to receive direct cash payments from the federal government. These calls are fake. How citizens will receive relief money has not yet been determined.

Charity - The caller might claim to be calling from a local or national charity organization that is collecting money to benefit those who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Research any organizations you are considering donating to and be sure to do it through official channels.

Healthcare providers - The caller might claim they are a healthcare provider and that someone in your family has tested positive for COVID-19. They will demand immediate payment for treatment for your loved one or threaten to discharge them from the hospital.

Student loans - The caller might claim the COVID-19 pandemic will have an impact on your loans and try to persuade you to provide personal information to assess your obligations.

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