Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning residents of new scams designed at targeting people’s fears about the coronavirus pandemic, including people in white lab coats showing up to homes, impersonating workers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a warning released Tuesday, Moody said new scams had surfaced in the past few weeks, targeting the vulnerable in a time of crisis. She said the scams run the gambit from text messages and phone calls to impostors posing as health workers offering free COVID-19 tests.
“Sadly, scammers never stop trying to make a dishonest dollar—not even amid a pandemic," Moody said. "If you receive an unsolicited text message, email, phone call or any other communication claiming a cash payment, government benefit or other COVID-19 related offer, be very suspicious. Guard your personal and financial information and report scams to my office.”
Reports show that text messages asking people to click on a link to claim a $1,000 payment, apparently connected to a COVID-19 federal stimulus package are circulating. The link most likely contained malware, Moody warned, adding that no one should click on any links in unsolicited messages.
According to a news release, several South Florida law enforcement agencies are issuing alerts about people dressed in white lab coats and masks impersonating Centers for Disease Control and Prevention workers.
Moody said the impostors are reportedly knocking on doors and offering free COVID-19 tests. CDC officials said the agency is not sending people door-to-door to test for COVID-19. If a CDC impersonator shows up at your door, do not let them in. Close the door and call 911.
The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is reporting a scam involving fraudsters calling older Americans and offering to mail them free COVID-19 test kits, according to a news release. The scammers claim all they need from the senior to send the free kit is the target’s Medicare number. Never provide health information, or any other personal information, in response to an unsolicited phone call, according to Moody.
Attorney General Moody has also activated Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline in response to the COVID-19 state of emergency. Consumers suspicious of price gouging can report it by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or by visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.