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HCSO warns of COVID-19 scam

Published on: March 26, 2020

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office warns against COVID-19 scam

By LOIS KINDLE

If someone knocking on your door or calling your phone number offers at-home COVID-19 testing, shut the door or hang up. It’s a SCAM designed to steal your identity or commit Medicare fraud.

Hillsborough Community Resource Deputy Jeff Merry is warning area residents of a new scam where criminals are offering at-home COVID-19 testing. It’s designed to commit identity theft or Medicare fraud.

“We’ve had a couple of door-to-door solicitors reported and phones are ringing all over Sun City Center, preying on frightened residents during this time of crisis,” said Community Resource Deputy Jeff Merry, of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. “Scammers are offering fake in-home tests and asking for people’s social security number, Medicare ID number and other personal information.

“There is no such thing as a home test right now,” he said.

Understandably, people are shaken right now and often ready to latch onto anything that makes them feel safe, and that’s exactly what the criminal wants to take advantage of.

As always, Merry advises residents not to answer the door unless they know the person calling on them and to avoid answering calls from numbers they’re unaware of.

When it comes to dealing with the threat of COVID-19, he also urges residents to stay calm, use preventative measures like social distancing, frequent hand washing, avoidance of face touching and staying at home, when possible, and heeding all Emergency Management updates.

If you need to report this type of solicitation or have any questions, call the HCSO District 4 Command office at 813-247-0455 or email jmerry@hcso.tampa.fl.us.

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