Beware: Some less-than-honest folks have started faking a COVID-19 diagnosis … with costly consequences for their employers.
For example, a manufacturing facility recently lost $175,000 in productivity after shutting down when an employee lied about testing positive for the coronavirus.
This certainly isn’t the first type of scam to exploit the current pandemic. And it won’t be the last. But this one hits too close to home.
While you hate to think one of your own people would do something similar, it does happen. The threat has gotten so serious, the FBI put out a warning to businesses about these scams this spring.
With cases spiking in the U.S., the temptation – and likelihood an employer will believe it – is greater than ever.
Here’s how to keep an employee from faking the coronavirus at your expense.
The fraudster came prepared — he supplied documentation supporting the COVID-19 diagnosis. But after growing suspicions this employee was simply looking for some time off, some follow-up revealed the paper trail wasn’t legit.
But that was only after the company shut down its production line, disinfected the entire facility and quarantined other workers who’d come into contact with the “infected” employee.
Yes, this is a serious and scary time. You may have employees who end up testing positive for the virus. But you also don’t want to get taken for a ride when someone simply looking for a vacation on your dime fakes coronavirus.
You need to have a policy in place to handle this issue — it isn’t going away anytime soon.
Safeguards to prevent coronavirus fakers
The FBI Office of Private Sector sent members a warning about this troubling trend. In it, the FBI proposed some safeguards:
- always contact the medical providers listed on work excuse documents to confirm they’re legit. (That’s how the company in the earlier example uncovered the fraud – the phone number was invalid,) and
- check for any inconsistencies in font and spacing or signs of computer editing on any documentation employees submit.
Ask questions for clarification. And of course remind employees of the consequences of submitting false requests to keep folks from taking advantage of the current situation … and your company’s good will.