Scammers are Capitalizing on COVID-19: Tips on How to Protect Yourself

Senior,Woman,Giving,Credit,Card,Details,On,The,PhoneScammers will typically use any situation to help benefit themselves. The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. Last year, we covered some of the most popular scams targeting seniors as reported by the Senate Special Committee on Aging. As time has advanced, so have the methods used by tricksters.

Currently, there is an uptick in fraudulent communications for COVID-19 vaccination and COVID-19 contact tracing. With protocols and news on vaccine distribution changing every day, it can be confusing to keep track of what is currently going on. Here are some tips to help avoid getting caught in the confusion, and stay one step ahead of scammers:

When it comes to vaccines:

  • Contact or visit the website for your state or local health department to find out how vaccine distribution is being handled.
  • Know that no one will randomly contact you to put your name on a list to get the vaccine.
  • Know that you cannot pay to receive the vaccine early. In fact, in New Jersey, no one will have to pay for the vaccine itself. Again, contact your local health department to determine how the vaccine will be covered based on your own situation.
  • Know that no legitimate person will call and request your social security number, credit card information, or other form of payment in relation to the vaccine. This is indeed a scam.

Things to know about contact tracing:

  • Contact tracers will not ask for payment information (e.g. bank account, credit card number).
  • Contact tracers will not ask for your social security number
  • Contact tracers will not text or email you and ask you to click a link.
  • Contact tracers may send text or emails letting you know that they’ve called you, or asking for your name, address, health information, or the names of places and people you have visited. This depends on your state’s program.

It is important to recognize the signs of communications from scammers. Senior citizens are one of the most targeted populations when it comes to this type of activity. In summary, stay informed on your state’s protocol, and never give out personal or payment information before properly investigating the situation. If contacted with a COVID-19 related scam, be sure to report this to your local health department. For more information on common scams, visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts.

The Wilf Campus for Senior Living is comprised of Stein Assisted Living (which includes Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood), Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf At Home and Wilf Transport. For more information about the Wilf Campus, please call 732-649-3502 or email info@wilfcampus.org.