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Telemedicine Scams Anticipated with Increase in Usage During COVID-19

If it’s not one scam, it’s another. Criminals will attempt to capitalize on ANY opportunity to bring financial gain. Yes, even during a pandemic when individuals are already significantly more vulnerable. Which brings us to our next highlighted scam, telemedicine scams.

Telemedicine, by both video and audio, is on the rise during COVID-19 to keep consumers safe and healthy in the comfort of their own homes, while still receiving healthcare services from their providers. However, a new threat arises in the form of scams that “can steal patients’ identities and defraud their insurance policies,” and “bogus telemedicine sessions for illicit profits also can damage a patient’s health,” according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.

To keep you, your families, and consumers safe, follow these guidelines from the CAIF:

1. Quiet Area.

“Hold your session in a quiet area, free of home noises and distractions. Make sure the lighting is good, and your devices are plugged in or charged.”

2. Prescriptions.

“Have your prescription bottles ready so you can accurately discuss your medicine needs.”

3. Flashlight.

“Bring a flashlight so your medical provider can better see injuries, sores or inside your mouth if needed.”

4. Telemed App.

“Know your telemed app or portal before your session. Test to make sure it operates compatibly on your system.”

5. Refuse Strangers.

“Scam artists cold-call people, often seniors. The callers offer free telemed exams with a doctor you’ve never met. You’re promised free braces, medicines or other health benefits — just give up your insurance information. These are ploys to steal your medical identity and falsely bill your insurance.”

6. Suspicious Charges.

“Check your medical statements carefully. Was your insurance billed for telemed sessions you never had? Charged for full-hour sessions that lasted only a half-hour? Billed for braces or medicines you never received?”

7. Report Scams.

“Contact your insurer, state fraud bureau or Medicare. If telemedicine bills look suspicious or you suspect a scammer tried to recruit you.”

Convenience, health, and safety are priorities, as well as vigilance! Stay well!

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