COVID-19 scams are on the rise, including insurance scams. Although most of the country is either social distancing or are on lockdown, the fraud-fighting community is seeing a rise in the number of insurance fraud cases. The rise is very noticeable and is enough to prompt organizations to issue alerts for their consumers.
Playing with Vulnerabilities
As we face a health crisis, people are understandably more anxious and fearful regarding what the future may hold for them. Add to this the fact that a pandemic brings in a set of problems that institutions are not ready for, and it is easy to see how criminals would see the situation as an opportunity to commit fraud.
How does one recognize if something is fraudulent, then? National Insurance Crime Bureau Senior Vice President James Schweitzer says that if something sounds too good to be true, then something might be afoot. He adds that scammers are targeting people by appealing to the inherent desire for information and hope. Scammers send emails and post ads on social media that appeal to this human need and then ask for personal information such as Social Security Number, credit card information, and similar sensitive data. Victims may then get their identity stolen from them or used for illegal activities. Below are other COVID-19 scams to watch out for.
COVID-19 Insurance Scam
Bogus insurance agents are trying to mimic mainstream and legitimate companies and pitching to sell COVID-19 insurance. The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud urges people not to follow their links or entertain their calls as there is no insurance product that covers COVID-19 problems the way they are marketing it.
COVID-19 Car Insurance Scam
Even with minimal vehicles on the streets, scammers will find a way to purposely cause accidents to be able to file a claim against their own insurance or a target’s insurance. These staged accidents work for car insurance scam because social distancing means fewer witnesses as well as people not taking a closer look at fake injuries to avoid a possible infection with COVID-19.
COVID-19 Travel Insurance Scam
There is a proliferation of bogus travel insurance policies that claim coverage for trip cancellations related to COVID-19. Note that most travel insurance policies have no coverage for pandemics, so a COVID-19 coverage is an immediate red flag. A Cancel for Any Reason coverage or a CFAR is most often just a sales pitch and had to be purchased separately within strict limitations.
COVID-19 Phishing Scam or Spoofing Scam
Unsolicited emails that look like they are from legitimate companies and requesting for personal information are most likely bogus. So are messages from companies who claim to have access to cures, ventilators, COVID-19 diagnostic kits, and the like. It is best to not fill out any forms from such messages and to simply mark the message as spam.
Fraud is truly on the rise these days. It pays to be extra careful and read up on ongoing scams particularly the ones that the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre warned about aside from the COVID-19 scams above. Exercise extra prudence more so with unsolicited communication too. If you think that you have been scammed or has been targeted by scammers, contact us to inquire about the ways that our private investigators can help you protect yourself using our private investigation services.
- OPP Warns Canadians Not to Fall for New Online Health Scams Related to COVID-19 - June 2, 2020
- Is the Coronavirus Causing an Increase in Cyber Affairs? - May 21, 2020
- COVID-19 Insurance Scams to Watch Out For - May 11, 2020