By Grace DeRose-Wilson, Screening Integration Coordinator at Elder Law of Michigan
All disasters have something in common. From hurricanes and tornadoes to pandemics, any time the normal operation of daily life is disrupted people pull together and pitch in to help each other survive. Unfortunately, scammers also try to take advantage of people during these times. The coronavirus pandemic is no different. While many of us roll up our shirtsleeves and see what we can do to help, scammers are rolling up theirs to see who they can get money from.
Police have recently started issuing warnings about coronavirus scams which targets older adults. With one scam, the older adult receives a call from someone claiming they are from a medical organization. The caller tells the older adult their coronavirus vaccine is ready, but they must pay over the phone to reserve a dose. This is a scam. As of March 17th, the CDC states there is no vaccine to prevent the coronavirus. Once scammers have your payment information, they can do what they want with it. You can always call your doctor’s office, or local health department to determine if there is a coronavirus vaccine available to you.
The City of Plymouth Police Department also warns individuals “to be leery of phone calls offering special deals to senior citizens to clean and sanitize their homes and require a pre-payment over the phone.” It is important to be very careful with the information that you give out. If you get a call that you are not expecting, and it is an organization or individual asking for donations or payment over the phone, be very wary of giving out your information.
If you think you have been a victim of a scam please file a consumer complaint with the Michigan Department of Attorney General, either online or by calling 877.765.8388.
Grace DeRose-Wilson is a Screening Integration Coordinator for MiCAFE at Elder Law of Michigan and has been a member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since November 2018. As a Screening Integration Coordinator, Grace helps Michigan seniors navigate the benefits application process, and helps raise awareness of benefits through community outreach events.