Coronavirus Phone Scammers Target Seniors, Officials Warn

Unknown number calling in the middle of the night. Phone call from stranger. Person holding mobile and smartphone in bedroom bed home late.
Unknown number calling in the middle of the night.

Scam artists are increasingly taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis by targeting seniors and other vulnerable residents with phone scams, Nassau County officials warned.

In one case, a scam caller citing the COVID-19 pandemic tried to get a local retiree to hand over his health insurance information and in another case, a scammer tried to get a senior to share their bank account information, officials said.

“If you have someone in your family who’s a senior or someone who’s vulnerable to this sort of thing, check in with them regularly,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran told reporters Thursday. “It’s unfortunate that people are taking care of the uncertainty.”

Such scams are on the rise nationwide, officials said. Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said his department has seen a 49 percent increase of phone scams year to date.

“There’s a bunch of lowlife people who sit and wait for times of crisis,” Ryder said. “They’re coming out in droves … They know right now the seniors are vulnerable.”

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