Cameron warns of charity and Medicaid scams related to COVID-19

Published 5:00 pm Friday, March 27, 2020

FRANKFORT – Attorney General Daniel Cameron warned Kentuckians of new charity and Medicaid scams related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and shared best practices to avoid the financial loss associated with these scams.

“During this health crisis, we strongly encourage Kentuckians to thoroughly vet any charities that solicit donations for COVID-19 relief work to ensure donations will truly be used to help those in need,” said Cameron. “We also urge Medicaid beneficiaries to be suspicious of anyone requesting personal information or payment in exchange for COVID-19 tests, as testing must be approved by a healthcare professional.”

To profit from the generosity of Kentuckians, scammers may impersonate charities by requesting funds or gift cards to assist victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, including families, small businesses and COVID-19 patients. Suspected charity scams related to COVID-19 can be reported to the Attorney General’s online scam reporting form or by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-888-432-9257.

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To avoid COVID-19 charity scams, consumers should:

• Deflect attempts of telemarketers to rush or pressure you into donating to a nonprofit, charity, or fundraiser related to COVID-19. Before making a donation, research the charity to verify its legitimacy. Visit the Office of the Attorney General’s Tips on Charitable Giving for a list of questions to ask when solicited.

• Do not make donations in cash, gift cards or money wires.

• Some Kentucky charities are required to register and report donations with the Office of the Attorney General. Visit our website for a list of charitable organizations and active charitable campaigns in Kentucky.

• Donate to charities you already know and trust, and, when possible, donate using the charity’s website rather than a social media or crowd-funding page.

Scammers may also take advantage of the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 health crisis to request personal information or payment from Medicaid beneficiaries in exchange for the promise of COVID-19 tests. These scams can occur via phone, social media posts, or door-to-door visits.

Medicaid beneficiaries who suspect fraud related to COVID-19 should collect as much information as possible from the scammer, including their name and phone number, and report the scam to the Attorney General’s Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control Hotline at 1-877-ABUSE TIP (1-877-228-7384.)

To avoid COVID-19 Medicaid scams, consumers should:

• Be cautious of unsolicited requests for Medicaid numbers.

• Be suspicious of any unexpected calls or visitors offering COVID-19 tests or supplies. If your personal information is compromised, it could be used in other fraud schemes.

• Ignore offers or advertisements for COVID-19 testing or treatments.

• Contact your physician or other trusted healthcare provider if COVID-19 testing is needed. The Commonwealth’s COVID-19 website provides information on when to seek care for COVID-19.