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Scammers taking advantage of Coronavirus outbreak

Posted on 03/13/2020

The Weld County Sheriff’s Office is warning the public about a new scam that has surfaced since the outbreak of Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

Just this week, Undersheriff Donnie Patch has received three phone calls – on his sheriff’s office-issued cellphone no less – from scammers claiming to be his Medicare or Medicaid provider. Patch immediately recognized the calls were a scam as he is not yet 65 years old and does not qualify for Medicare.

It’s not uncommon for scammers to try to capitalize off public health emergencies to defraud unsuspecting residents of their vital personal information, such as social security numbers, banking information and credit card numbers, to name a few. Unfortunately, due to sophisticated online phishing techniques, scammers might already know some of your personal identifying information when they call.

Scammers will use that publicly available information to lull their victims into a false sense of trust in order to trick them into giving out even more sensitive information.

“This is a scam plain and simple,” Patch said. “The best way to protect yourself from someone claiming to be your Medicare or Medicaid provider is to hang up the phone and call your provider directly to find out if they are attempting to contact you.”

Anyone who thinks they have been victimized by a scam is asked to call the sheriff’s office at (970) 356-4015.