Aging Resources of Central Iowa is reminding everyone, particularly older adults, scammers don’t take time off from their thievery during a public health crisis. A new angle for swindlers is to use the fear and panic caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. (

Ignore phone and online offers for virus test kits, vaccinations or treatments. These are scams. If you think you have COVID-19 (you have a fever, cough, trouble breathing), call your doctor. You will be instructed what to do. If your healthcare provider determines testing is needed, be assured that both Medicare and Medicaid cover the lab work for COVID-19, with no out-of-pocket costs. If you have other health insurance, call the member services number on your card to ask about any co-pays for testing.

Many people want to help during this time of need. Beware of solicitors collecting money supposedly to help first responders, food banks, or schools. Scammers often use names that look or sound like legitimate charities. Never be pressured into donating. Requests specifying cash, gift cards or wired money are typically phony operations. If you aren’t sure about the reliability of an organization, stop the conversation and talk about it with someone you trust.