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Pandemic Produces Scams Targeting Iowa Seniors

One pandemic-related scam that's come to Iowa is the robocall to offer air duct replacement to help keep coronavirus out of your home. (Adobe Stock)
One pandemic-related scam that's come to Iowa is the robocall to offer air duct replacement to help keep coronavirus out of your home. (Adobe Stock)
March 26, 2020

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The health implications of the global coronavirus pandemic are stressful enough for Iowans, and people looking to prey on those fears are making it tougher.

State authorities and AARP Iowa both are warning about new scams, including some targeting seniors.

According to AARP Iowa, it is hearing about phone calls from individuals claiming to be from Medicare or Social Security.

AARP Iowa State Director Brad Anderson says another involves people going door-to-door, offering free coronavirus testing -- and then attempting to file false claims or offer vaccines.

"Right now, there is no vaccine and there is no treatment, so just watch out for people trying to say that there is one," Anderson stresses.

He says one common goal of scammers is to obtain a senior's Medicare number, which should never be given out except to a medical professional.

The Iowa Attorney General's Office also urges anyone who spots price gouging in stores to report it right away.

In trying to avoid scams, Anderson says staying in tune with the latest information from government and health officials will make it easier to spot something fake right away.

"We urge people to follow trusted news sources -- and really, you know, use common sense," he states. "You will know when there is a cure and a treatment. "

Tips about avoiding these scams can be found on the AARP website. And more information is available on weekly Tele-Town Halls being offered every Thursday by AARP at noon Central time, during the pandemic.

You don't have to be a member to listen in or ask questions, at 1-855-274-9507.

Disclosure: AARP Iowa contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Community Issues and Volunteering, Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mike Moen, Public News Service - IA