The Maine Bureau of Insurance is warning state residents to recognize and avoid scams that use the coronavirus pandemic as a pretense to obtain victims’ medical or financial information.

Scammers are using coronavirus concerns to take advantage of individuals and businesses across the United States, the bureau said in a news release issued Friday. U.S. consumers have lost a total of $18 million in fraud schemes that mention the coronavirus, the Federal Trade Commission reported Tuesday, with a reported median loss of $553 per victim.

Consumers should watch out for unsolicited offers for COVID-19 testing or treatment. Such scams usually require a consumer to divulge health insurance and other personal information, which is then used to fraudulently bill the victim for payment, according to the FBI.

“With the current health emergency, Mainers need to be cautious about scammers, including fraudulent telephone solicitations and cyber criminals,” Maine Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa said in the release.

Cioppa also reminded Mainers that if they are shopping for health insurance, they should use official government sites such as healthcare.gov and the bureau’s website maine.gov/insurance, where they will find information about approved, comprehensive plans.

“Private insurance sales in Maine are regulated by the Bureau of Insurance,” Cioppa said. “If someone claims to have a license to sell insurance in Maine, you can get in touch with us and we can confirm that for you, or you can use the Licensee Lookup tool on our website.”

There is help available from Maine’s state agencies for those questioning an insurance offer, he added. Even with the majority of state employees working remotely at this time, agencies are available during their usual hours to assist Maine residents.

Consumers who think they may be the victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving coronavirus should contact the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-436-2131 or online at: maine.gov/ag/consumer/complaints/.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: