Scammers continue to piggyback on the COVID-19 Coronavirus scare with new tricks, this time targeting U.S. Army service members with phone calls requesting their personal information and promising a testing kit to check if they’re infected, according to the Military Times.
The outlet, which describes itself as a trusted, independent source for news and information on the most important issues affecting service members and their families, has put out the following warning:
“If you’re a Tricare recipient and someone calls you out of the blue offering a COVID-19 test kit, hang up the phone and contact Tricare officials.”
The notice comes after the Defense Health Agency said it learned of scammers trying to steal personal information of Tricare beneficiaries using the promise of non-existent COVID-19 testing kits.
Scammers call beneficiaries directly with an offer to sell COVID-19 testing kits and even ship them to the prospective victim’s address. Operatives behind the swindle reportedly request personal information such as Social Security numbers and bank or credit card information.
Service members are instructed to report unsolicited attempts to sell or send a COVID-19 testing kit to this link. Furthermore, service members should not physically walk into their local military hospital or clinic if they feel they may have symptoms of COVID-19. Instead, they should stay home and contact their medical provider, the notice states.
“You will be assessed and screened for potential or suspected exposure, and if necessary, an appointment with a physician will be arranged. Legitimate COVID-19 tests will be ordered by a physician after the assessment and screening,” according to the Military Times.
U.S. government agencies and police are scrambling to keep the American public safe from COVID-19 scams, including phishing emails arriving in their inbox with attachments purporting to contain vital information about the contagion and how to fight it.
The best advice right now is to refrain from making decisions over any unsolicited calls, SMS messages, or emails claiming to lend a helping hand, free masks or testing kits, or miracle cures. Opportunistic fraudsters use the anxiety created by a crisis to take advantage of their unsuspecting victims.