Sixth COVID-19 case in Columbus; scam warnings

By DEUCE NIVEN

tribdeuce@tabor-loris.com

     A sixth case of COVID-19 in Columbus County was confirmed Saturday morning, exactly a week after the first two positive tests for the coronavirus was reported.

     This post will cover these topics and may be updated:

  • Sixth COVID-19 case confirmed in Columbus County
  • Scam warnings

Sixth COVID-19 case in Columbus

     Reported by the Columbus County Health Department Saturday morning, the sixth case does not appear to be related to any of the previous five. In this case the individual is recovering at home.

     Columbus County Health Department staff is following CDC guidelines to protect public health and limit the spread of infection.

     “Based on information provided by the individual, county public health officials will assess risks of exposure, and determine which, if any, additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing,” a news release said. “We urge the public to take the necessary measures to stop the community transmission of COVID-19.”

     Regularly updated information from the Columbus County Health Department is available on its Facebook page at Facebook.com/columbuscountyhealth.

     Columbus County Health Department’s COVID-19 Call Center is also operating from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Call 910-640-6615 ext. 7045 or 7046.

Scam warnings

     North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey joins the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud in urging residents to be on guard against scammers preying on fears related to the coronavirus pandemic.

     “Crooks will stop at nothing to scam the public, including using the coronavirus as a means of stealing your money, or worse your personal identity,” Commissioner Causey said. “If you get an unsolicited visit, call or email offering “corona” insurance, free or low-costs tests, or seeking personal information, it’s best to close the door, hang up, or exit out of the email and notify the authorities.”

     The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud has identified the top five coronavirus – or COVID-19 – scams:

  • Fake “corona” insurance. Fake health insurance agents may try to sell low-priced insurance to cover coronavirus treatment. Most standard health insurance policies provide coverage for coronavirus treatment. If you receive one of these calls, simply hang up on the caller or robocall.
  • Canceled health insurance. Beware of bogus calls warning you that your health insurance was canceled. These scammers may give you a tollfree number to call or you may be urged to click on a link in an email. Clicking on the link could result in the scammer installing malware on your electronic device. Most of these are attempts to steal your personal information. If you have a question regarding your health insurance, call the number on your insurance card.
  • Corona medicines and tests. Scammers are peddling fake vaccines, drugs, all-natural or organic treatments that are “insured and paid for” by your health insurance policy. The novel coronavirus is new. There is no known cure yet.
  • Senior scams. Beware of free virus tests at senior centers, health fairs or in your home. These scammers might ask for your Medicare number, Social Security number or other information to steal your medical or personal identity. Talk to your doctor or local health department if you think you need a test. Call your health insurer to answer any coverage questions.
  • Bogus travel insurance. Be wary of pitches for travel insurance that claim to cover coronavirus-related trip cancellations. Most standard travel insurance policies do not cover viral outbreaks or pandemics unless you are sick or if you have an expensive “cancel for any reason” policy. Know what your policy does and doesn’t cover.

     If you have questions, you may speak to a consumer specialist at the N.C. Department of Insurance by calling 855-408-1212. To report suspected fraud, contact the N.C. Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division at 919-807-6840. Callers may remain anonymous.

     In South Carolina the Securities Division of the South Carolina Office of the Attorney General is alerting investors to be on guard against an anticipated surge of fraudulent investment schemes.

     “In these extraordinary times the health and welfare of all must be our foremost concern, and that includes our financial health. Our primary focus remains on the protection of retail investors,” said Attorney General Alan Wilson.

     The Securities Division warns investors that the fraudulent schemes launched amid COVID-19 outbreak will not be elegant. “Scammers will begin perpetrating schemes that require little or no advance planning and minimal sophistication,” Wilson said. “Most will simply be old scams dressed in contemporary clothing.”

     In particular, the Securities Division warned investors to be on the lookout for investments specifically tied to the threat of COVID-19. Bad actors can be expected to develop schemes that falsely purport to raise capital for companies manufacturing surgical masks and gowns, producing ventilators and other medical equipment, distributing small-molecule drugs and other preventative pharmaceuticals, or manufacturing vaccines and miracle cures.

     The schemes often appear legitimate because they draw upon current news, medical reports and social and political developments.

Updates

     Look for continuing coverage on local impacts from the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak here and in the Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.