As COVID-19 treatment progress is made, stay alert for fraud

Contact: Jennifer Bowen
(334) 269-3550


As the country continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alabama Department of Insurance (ALDOI) wants you to be alert for possible fraud. During times like this, criminals prey on consumers’ fears by soliciting personal information through calls, texts, emails or internet ads. They may purposefully mislead, prompting consumers to purchase potentially inadequate health plans, fake treatments or ineffective and unnecessary equipment for virus prevention. Anyone can be targeted by hackers and scammers. 

Identity theft represents the largest existing threat that consumers should be aware of so that you can take steps to protect yourself.  Unauthorized agents, brokers and sales persons may use high-pressure tactics that mislead consumers.  Here are some tips to help protect yourself and those you love. 

- Be careful when answering calls from unknown numbers. Many scammers use robocalling where a computerized auto dialer delivers a prerecorded message. Ultimately, many of these calls are sales pitches for health insurance products that have limited benefits, do not provide comprehensive coverage and may leave the person who purchased the plan stuck with huge medical bills. Simply hang up or do not answer calls from unknown numbers.

Avoid clicking on internet ads about cheap insurance or offers that seem too good to be true. Be wary of online solicitations and websites offering health insurance plans, as not all of them are legitimate. Watch out for ads that request immediate action or are time sensitive.  One way to protect yourself is by requesting an insurance agent’s license number so that you can verify their legitimacy. If you’re unsure if an agent is licensed, call the Alabama Department of Insurance at 334-269-3550.
Beware of fraudulent cures and medical treatment. Pharmaceutical companies have made significant progress on vaccine development and there is hope one or several effective vaccines will be hitting the market in the coming weeks or months. But right now, there is no FDA approved vaccine for coronavirus. Also be suspicious of anyone going door to door offering free Covid-19 testing, supplies or treatment.  Tell them you are not interested.

Stay alert for the potential for identity theft. Safeguard all personal information such as Medicare numbers, Social Security numbers, bank account and any other personal information.

Consumers with insurance questions, concerns or complaints can contact the Consumer Services division of the Alabama Department of Insurance at 334-241-4141.