Be a vigilant, educated and informed consumer.
During uncertain times, we are vulnerable to those who would use high emotion and conflicting information to take advantage of others. Misinformation about COVID-19 virus treatments and cures abound, and many Americans have recently received stimulus payments that may cause others to ask them for cash or donations. We can all be easy targets if we are not equipped with information.
Here are several points to remember:
- The government will never call you, text you or email you to ask for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number. Do not give information to anyone that says they are requiring your information related to the COVID-19 economic stimulus plan or any other program.
- No vaccination or cure is currently available for COVID-19. Some people are using people’s fears of contracting the virus to peddle unproven, and sometimes dangerous, remedies. Be wary of anyone who contacts you to sell you these products or uses terms such as “FDA Approved” treatment options. Talk with your doctor before pursuing any virus-related claim.
- Charities need donations during this time, but dishonest individuals may take advantage of people’s goodwill and pose as legitimate charitable organizations. It is best to reach out to organizations you trust and have worked with in the past if you would like to donate money.
- Investment opportunities are another common area that scammers will target. Be aware of investments related to buying medical technologies or coronavirus treatments/cures. Verify business listings and speak with your financial advisor before making any investment decisions.
- Never give any personal information via text such as Social Security Number.
Your medical, financial, and legal wellbeing remains paramount during this time. Please contact us, your healthcare provider, and/or your financial advisor as you navigate your current situation. Reliable information can also be found at www.ftc.gov, www.coronavirus.gov and www.coronavirus.idaho.gov.
A Special Note on Stimulus Payments and Medicaid: If you or a loved one is receiving Medicaid and also received a stimulus payment, please contact us if you have questions about how this payment affects their Medicaid eligibility. The payment does not count as income and may be excluded from asset limits under certain circumstances.
Tom Packer is an Elder Law Attorney serving all of Southeast Idaho. As part of his law practice, Tom offers Life Care Planning to deal with the challenges created by long-term illness, disability and incapacity. If you have a question about a Senior’s legal, financial or healthcare needs, please call us.