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Fraudsters using pandemic to push scam calls

Independent Health

Phone scammers are using the COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage. 

“You’re only qualified for multivitamins and probiotic, and also for the cough medication. This is just for prescription purposes only, for you to take advantage of,” a voice says on the phone. “It has been fully paid for, fully covered by Independent Health insurance plan.

It’s a scam seeing a major surge during the international health crisis, and now those behind it are getting more and more convincing by masquerading as recognizable local health insurers. Unlucky for them, they were on the phone with Chief Operations Officer for Independent Health, John Rodgers.

“Us, as health plans, we are communicating with our members more regularly, and so members may expect to see something from us,” said Rodgers. “So when they get these phone calls from folks representing that they are working with us, they probably believe it and are more willing to give up their information.”

Rodgers said fraudsters are preying on people’s uneasiness with the ongoing pandemic.

“I think now in this time of turmoil is when a lot of criminals really peak their interest,” said Rodgers. “But once they have personal information, they could theoretically open up credit card accounts, or they could go to a fraudulent prescription company and start charging prescriptions against Independent Health.”

Two known fake companies the scammers are using is “The Pharmacy Network,” and “Pharmaceuticals, Inc.” and offer various medications and supplies to people, including even COVID-19 test kits.

“Just hang up and use the phone number on the back of their ID card to call their insurance company just to verify they weren’t being scammed by some outside company,” Rodgers said.

Another way to stay vigilant would be to review your Explanation of Benefits statement from Independent Health to confirm you actually received treatments billed to you.

Ryan Zunner joined WBFO in the summer of 2018 as an intern, before working his way up to reporter the following summer.
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