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OIG Warns of COVID-19 Fraud Schemes

The US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a fraud alert warning Medicare beneficiaries of potentially fraudulent schemes that take advantage of the fears surrounding the COVID-19 public health emergency. The OIG warns that fraudsters are targeting Medicare beneficiaries through telemarketing, social media and even in-person, door-to-door contact. According to the OIG, the fraudulent schemes often involve an offer of a COVID-19 test in exchange for an individual providing personal information.

The OIG provided the public several tips on identifying and avoiding fraudulent schemes:

  • Be cautious of unsolicited requests for personal information, such as your Medicare number;

  • Be suspicious of unsolicited offers of COVID-19 tests or supplies;

  • Ignore offers on social media of COVID-19 tests or treatment; and

  • Only a physician or other qualified health care provider should recommend or approve requests for COVID-19 testing.

The OIG is also calling on the public to notify it of suspected fraud by contacting the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline (866) 720-5721 or disaster@leo.gov.

The OIG’s alert is a reminder to scrutinize requests for your personal information, especially where such requests are unsolicited or concern your health and do not come from a trusted health care provider.

Copyright © 2020 Robinson & Cole LLP. All rights reserved.

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About this Author

Nathaniel Arden, Health Care and Intellectual Property Attorney, Robinson Cole Law Firm, Hartford, Connecticut
Associate

Nathaniel Arden is a member of Robinson+Cole’s Health Law Group. He advises hospitals, health systems, physician groups, community providers, and other health care entities on a variety of health law and business issues. His practice focuses on health care-related regulatory and transactional matters, as well as health care-related information technology issues. Nathaniel has an extensive background in the healthcare industry, and he worked at a large academic medical center prior to joining the firm.

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