How to Identify Coronavirus Scams Targeting Older Americans: AARP

AARP says scammers are using pandemic headlines as opportunities to steal money or sensitive personal information.

NBCUniversal, Inc.

There is no known cure for COVID-19 just yet, so don’t be fooled into paying for false hope. That's the message from the American Association of Retired Persons as older Americans are increasingly being targeted by scams with a coronavirus twist.

The AARP said scammers are using headlines and Americans’ higher levels of anxiety as opportunities to steal money or sensitive personal information. The AARP urges consumers to ignore robocalls and suspicious emails offering coronavirus treatments and cures for a price.

“We’re all very anxious and in a heightened emotional state and not thinking as logically as we might, so the best thing to do is not to engage,” said Kathy Stokes, the AARP’s director of Fraud Prevention Programs.

Stokes told NBC 5 Investigates that AARP has identified coronavirus scams that offer to provide coronavirus testing, offer to help secure unemployment money and attempt to acquire bank account information in order to deposit stimulus money.

“If they say that they’re calling from the federal government and they need your bank account number to deposit the stimulus economic impact payments, that’s a scam,” Stokes said.

Stokes said consumers should not give out their Medicare information to suspicious callers.

If you feel like you’ve been swindled or have lost money, the AARP encourages you to file a police report, consider contacting your state’s attorney general or the FTC and share your experience with other people so they don’t fall victim.

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