WARNING: COVID-19 Scammers offering “free” tests and medicine


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WRKN) — BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is warning against phone, email, and door-to-door scams amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

BlueCross said many of these scams work to gain your personal information, such as bank account information, despite offering “free” information or services. They warn customers not to give out any personal information.  

“We want to advise all of our members to be wary of phone calls or emails asking for their health plan and personal information for coronavirus testing kits and vaccinations,” said Julie Boerger, vice president and chief compliance officer. “BlueCross will not call you to schedule testing or vaccinations for the coronavirus – and if you receive a call, it’s a scam.” 

On Friday, the company released the following statement: 

According to a Fraud Alert issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, there has been an increase in reports of fraudulent schemes related to the coronavirus. Examples of possible scams include: 

  • Phone calls asking members for their subscriber ID/bank account information for free testing and/or services to cure or prevent coronavirus (COVID-19) 
  • Door-to-door solicitation for coronavirus testing and prescribing products to cure or prevent COVID-19 
  • Bogus advertisements for vaccinations or medications to treat COVID-19 
  • Phishing emails from impersonators of the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to solicit personal information  
  • Advertisements offering health products such as teas, supplements or oils that are ineffective against COVID-19  

As of March 27, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not authorized any test that is available to purchase for COVID-19 testing at home.   

BlueCross has shared this alert on our COVID-19 resource website, bcbstupdates.com. Anyone receiving a suspicious call should report it to the BlueCross Fraud Unit at 1-888-343-4221.  

Most patients with COVID-19 have a mild respiratory illness including fever, cough and shortness of breath. The Tennessee Department of Health strongly encourages Tennesseans to wash your hands often with soap and water and to not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

The CDC recommends that organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 10 people or more throughout the United States.

High-risk individuals are defined as adults over 60 years old or people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions such as: Heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease.

The Tennessee Department of Health offers a COVID-19 Public Information Line at 877-857-2945, with information available daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Central Time.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.


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