Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Aging Committee, is warning seniors to be on guard against an emerging scam that seeks to capitalize on anxiety surrounding the coronavirus.
The scheme, which has been reported to the Aging Committee’s Fraud Hotline (1-855-303-9470), is another variation of the government imposter scam. Criminals deceive victims by claiming to be from a U.S. public health agency, and they demand that the victims pay hundreds of dollars to ensure they will be eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine—even though a vaccine does not currently exist. The con artists insist that the victims pay immediately via credit card or else they will be refused treatment in their doctor’s office or in a vaccine clinic.
“This scam is another reminder of how ruthless criminals are in seeking to rob seniors of their hard-earned savings,” said Senator Collins. “It is unconscionable that anyone would seek to exploit seniors’ fears over the coronavirus. The government will never demand advance payment over the phone for a vaccine. Anyone receiving this type of call should immediately hang up and report it to the Aging Committee’s Fraud Hotline at 1-855-303-9470.”
Last week, Senator Collins, a senior member the Appropriations Committee, voted to advance a $7.8 billion funding package to fight the coronavirus, which was signed into law on March 6, 2020.
In addition, Senators Collins and Bob Casey (D-PA) recently led a letter that was signed by 12 members of the Aging Committee urging the Department of Health and Human Services to take action to protect seniors from the virus.