Scam Alert: Watch out for fake insurance products during coronavirus pandemic

ajc.com

Ohioans should be on alert for fake insurance products and coronavirus insurance coverage, warned Ohio Department of Insurance Director Jillian Froment.

Most scammers are calling from fake telephone numbers and do not have an insurance license or is not with a licensed agency. Also be aware of robocallers and websites that are marketing fake insurance policies.

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"I'm urging all Ohioans to be very cautious of any insurance product that is being marketed to them emphasizing COVID-19 insurance coverage," Froment said. "Personal information should never be shared unless you are certain you are dealing with a legitimate insurance agent, agency or company. Ohioans can verify that an individual and entity are licensed by the Ohio Department of Insurance by visiting www.insurance.ohio.gov."

Some of the fake insurance policies are being marketed as “Trumpcare,” telehealth-only insurance coverage and coronavirus-specific health insurance coverage.

Scammers are asking people to share personal information, including bank and credit card numbers. The scammers then steal from their victims through fake “premium” billings.

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Some scammers also indicate there’s a special enrollment period that’s been enacted with health care coverage due to the pandemic. That may not be correct depending on the state.

In other cases, people are being contacted about coronavirus testing kits and other treatments if they provide their health insurance information, as well as other personal data. Scammers then use that information to submit fake insurance claims to insurance companies.

Though many insurance companies cover coronavirus testing and treatments, soliciting a plan for purchase should raise alarm bells.

Froment also warned about travel insurance scams. Most travel insurance policies do not cover pandemics.

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Ohioans should be cautious of anyone marketing coronavirus insurance products and should read any insurance policy closely.

Do not give personal, financial or insurance information to anyone unless it is to a trusted person or agency.

If you are suspicious of any misconduct or insurance fraud, contact the Ohio Department of Fraud and Enforcement Division at 1-800-686-1527 and www.insurance.ohio.gov.

For more information on coronavirus-related scams, visit www.coronavirus.ohio.gov.