June 10, 2023

Senior News Line: COVID phone scams

Thieves and scammers will do nearly anything to help us part with our dollars. In the latest one, as I write this, the thieves want to help me get the free COVID tests the government is sending out.

I signed up months ago and received my shipment of four tests. The scammers, however, think I should have more on hand and have offered to help me order them — for a small handling fee.

That handling fee for the free tests? Thirty dollars, and giving them my banking information.

No, I don’t think so.

We need to be on our toes with these thieves. No matter what topic is on the news, they’ll find a way to turn it into a scam.

You might get a call supposedly from a COVID contact tracer who asks too many personal questions, such as for your banking information.

You might get a call saying we’re now supposed to get an additional booster and you can be put at the head of the wait list for a small fee.

Or, you might get a call saying you’re due to get another government relief check, but you have to pay the taxes first out of your checking account.

Why, oh why do they target seniors? The answer is that we are perceived to have lots of money and that we’re not likely to report fraud. We’re also, unfortunately, too trusting and too polite.

If you don’t recognize the phone number when someone calls, don’t answer. If someone hasn’t left a message, don’t call them back.

If someone does get you on the phone and the conversation involves any pressure, time-limited offers or questions about your personal information, hang up. Remember, you are not obligated to be polite.

Matilda Charles

© 2023 King Features Synd., Inc.