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Consumer Alert Warns of Scammers Seeking Medicaid & Medicare Information During COVID-19 Pandemic

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel recently issued a strong warning to consumers in the state to be on the lookout for scammers who are contacting residents and claiming to work for at least two local public health departments. The scammers are offering medication and at-home COVID-19 tests and then asking for people’s Medicaid and Medicare numbers for “billing purposes.” These scams have resulted in local health departments being slammed with calls that are delaying crucial responses that should be going to COVID-19 patients.

Reports of the scam have been focused on the Ionia County Health Department and the Benzie Leelanau Public Health Department. The Benzie Leelanau Public Health Department has been primarily receiving calls from residents in the 248 and 989 area codes reporting the scam.

According to Attorney General Nessel, “Scammers are still on a quest to take advantage of this public health crisis to gain access to your private information.” Nessel asks that all Michiganders be on “high alert for scam calls, emails, and text or direct messages on social media.” She also asks that residents please don’t hesitate to contact the Consumer Protection Team to report a scam, file a complaint, or get additional information.

Signs of a Scam Call

Scammers like to use a process called “spoofing” to make them seem more official over the phone. Spoofing makes it look like the call is coming from a legitimate government phone number. Scammers also try to sound professional and can be very persuasive because they aren’t speaking to you in-person.

If you get a phone call that you suspect is a scam, immediately hang up. You should never give your personal information to an unsolicited caller.

Michigan residents also need to be aware of online coronavirus scams involving bogus products and false information on COVID-19 tests and treatment. Scammers are trying to obtain the personal information that consumers might include emails, as well as making online posts pitching unreliable products, advice, fake tests, and cures for COVID-19.

How to Report a COVID-19 Scam

If you want to report potential scams, price-gouging, and any other violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, you can file a complaint online with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection team. You can also call (877) 765-8388 to make a report.

To speak to a lawyer at Nawrocki Center for Elder Law, Special Needs & Disability Planning, PLLC about taking legal action over a COVID-19 scam, please give us a call today at (810) 893-5277 to request a consultation.

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