FBI Expecting Increase In Insurance Fraud, Scammers Due To COVID-19

Published: Sunday, April 19, 2020 - 6:51pm

Fears over the coronavirus are breeding a great environment for scammers and con artists, according to the FBI. They're reporting more cases of fraudulent schemes and are anticipating an uptick in insurance fraud cases as more people receive treatment for COVID-19.

Jeremy Capello is with the Phoenix Division of the FBI. He says that in addition to scams targeting individuals, some people are defrauding hospitals and healthcare providers. The FBI is also seeing more cases of individuals selling unauthorized and ineffective PPE to healthcare providers, and offering bogus coronavirus tests to individuals.

"Scammers are creating fake shops, websites, social media accounts, e-mail addresses claiming that they sell medical supplies that are in high demand," he said. "They’re requiring payment up front, or funds be placed in escrow accounts, which is completely outside normal industry standards."

Capello says consumers should be aware of what their providers are billing for and who they’re actually speaking to.

“Specifically related to overbilling, billing for services not rendered, upcoding services and billing for medically unnecessary services," he said. "Be on the lookout for unsolicited calls from bad actors saying they need to confirm their eligibility for COVID-19 testing. That’s often a way scammers are getting their personal health insurance information.”

Capello urges everyone to be especially wary of anybody who contacts them directly offering services, testing, or equipment relating to the coronavirus.

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