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Business and Economy

Scammers Target Mainers, Offer Fake Health Insurance Or Coronavirus Testing

As the country grapples with a depressed economy and anxiety over the new coronavirus, the Maine Bureau of Insurance is warning Mainers that the health crisis has given rise to a rash of scams, including those targeting consumers trying to obtain health insurance.

"Private insurance sales in Maine are regulated by the Bureau of Insurance, says Maine Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa. "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."

Cioppa says consumers should be vigilant of any unsolicited communications offering COVID-19 testing or treatment. He says these kinds of communications turn out to be scams, and they require that a consumer divulge sensitive private information about their health or banking details, and that consumers then find themselves the victims of fraudulent charges.

"With the current health emergency, Mainers need to be cautious about scammers, including fraudulent telephone solicitations and cyber criminals," says Cioppa.

It's not the only scam making the rounds. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins has issued warnings about fraudulent attempts to collect fees for facilitating the Paycheck Protection Loan Program, a relief bill she co-authored. Applications for all such relief are free, she says, and no one should be charged for it.

The Federal Trade Commission released figures this week indicating that scammed consumers have lost about $553 per person, at least $18 million across the country.