Fraud Alert: COVID-19 Scams
COVID-19 fraud is rapidly evolving. This page is frequently updated.
Last updated: February 28, 2023
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is alerting the public about fraud schemes related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is alerting the public about fraud schemes related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Individuals are using testing sites, telemarketing calls, text messages, social media platforms, and door-to-door visits to perpetrate COVID-19-related scams.
Fraudsters are offering COVID-19 services in exchange for personal details, including Medicare information. However, these services are unapproved and illegitimate.
These scammers take advantage of COVID-19-related needs and services to benefit themselves, putting beneficiaries at risk of potential harm. The personal information collected can be used to fraudulently bill federal health care programs and commit medical identity theft.
- Beneficiaries should be cautious of unsolicited requests for their personal, medical, and financial information. Medicare will not call beneficiaries to offer COVID-19 related products, services, or benefit review.
- Be careful! Scammers are selling fake and unauthorized at-home COVID-19 test kits in exchange for your personal or medical information. Make sure to purchase FDA approved COVID-19 test kits from legitimate providers.
- Scammers are sending COVID-19 at home test kits to Medicare beneficiaries and then billing Medicare for reimbursement. If you received COVID-19 test kits that you did not order, please report it.
- Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone claiming to offer HHS grants related to COVID-19.
- Be cautious of any COVID-19 testing site that requires your financial or medical information in order to receive a free test.
- Be mindful of advertisements for COVID-19 testing or treatments on social media platforms. If you make an appointment for a COVID-19 test online, make sure the location is an approved testing site. We encourage the public to check official government websites for a list of approved COVID-19 testing sites.
- Do not purchase or reproduce fake COVID-19 proof of vaccination cards, and do not fill-in blank vaccination cards with false information.
- Offers to purchase COVID-19 vaccination cards are scams. Valid proof of COVID-19 vaccination can only be provided to individuals by legitimate providers administering vaccines.
- Photos of COVID-19 vaccination cards should not be shared on social media. Posting content that includes your date of birth, health care details or other personally identifiable information can be used to steal your identity.
- As volunteers go door-to-door to inform communities across the country about COVID-19 vaccines, be sure to protect yourself from criminals who are seeking to commit fraud. Do not provide personal, medical, or financial details to anyone in exchange for vaccine information, and obtain vaccinations from trusted providers.
- Be cautious of COVID-19 survey scams. Do not give your personal, medical, or financial information to anyone claiming to offer money or gifts in exchange for your participation in a COVID-19 vaccine survey.
- Be mindful of how you dispose of COVID-19 materials such as syringes, vials, vial container boxes, vaccination record cards, and shipment or tracking records. Improper disposal of these items could be used by bad actors to commit fraud.
- Be suspicious of any unexpected calls or visitors offering COVID-19 tests or supplies. If you receive a suspicious call, hang up immediately.
- Do not respond to, or open links in, text messages about COVID-19 from unknown individuals.
- Be aware of scammers pretending to be COVID-19 contact tracers. Legitimate contact tracers will never ask for your medical or financial information or attempt to set up a COVID-19 test.
- If you suspect COVID-19 health care fraud, report it immediately online or call 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477).
- Scammers are using social media to perpetrate COVID-19-related scams. In one major scheme, fraudsters hack social media accounts and send direct messages to beneficiaries while posing as a friend or government employee. The impersonator claims the person is eligible for government grants (citing various reasons like COVID-19, disability, etc.) and urges them to call a phone number to collect the funds. Upon calling, the beneficiary is asked to pay a "processing fee" (using bank account information, gift cards, bitcoin) to receive the grant money. In return, targets of this scam never receive any money, but often large sums of their money are stolen from them. These alleged grants are entirely illegitimate.
- Fraudsters are also continuing to offer COVID-19 tests to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for personal details, including Medicare information. However, the services are unapproved and illegitimate.
- In another fraud scheme, some medical labs are targeting retirement communities claiming to offer COVID-19 tests, but they are actually drawing blood and billing federal health care programs for medically unnecessary services.