Has someone from "Tricare" called, offering to provide you with coronavirus testing kits? It's time to report the call to the system's fraud and abuse section.
That's the warning issued early Thursday by Tricare officials. Scammers, according to a news release, may say they are offering testing kits for the novel coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19, but they're actually collecting beneficiaries' personal information, including credit cards and Social Security numbers.
"The scam involves direct calls to beneficiaries with an offer to ship or sell COVID-19 testing kits. The calls include requests for personal information such as Social Security numbers, bank or credit card information," the release states. "Beneficiaries should avoid any solicitation regarding a COVID-19 test kit by anyone other than their attending physician."
Any calls about selling or shipping coronavirus testing kits should be reported right away to Tricare's fraud and abuse section, the release states. The only way for Tricare users to get tested for the virus is through a physician's order.
The testing kit scam isn't the first associated with the current pandemic. White House officials issued warnings mid-March that rumors spread by text message about a national quarantine are fake.
"Text message rumors of a national #quarantine are FAKE," according to a March 15 tweet posted on the Twitter page of the National Security Council. "There is no national lockdown."
Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) in a news release also cautioned against "phishing campaigns that prey on would-be victims' fear, while others capitalize on the opportunity created by hot topics in the news cycle."
-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.