COVID-19 Vaccination Scams
Scammers are swooping in to take advantage of all the confusion over the types of vaccinations, access and availability.
We are seeing everything from bogus COVID vaccine insurance policies to fake services offering vaccine appointment reservations for a fee. It doesn’t matter what they throw at you as long as you remember THIS: the REAL vaccine and the REAL services that go with it are available ONLY from federal and state-approved locations and clinics. If the ad or unsolicited offer via phone, text, email or social media isn’t from one of those, it’s a COVID vaccine scam.
“With every passing day, the news on COVID-19 vaccine distribution seems to change,” said Colleen Tressler of the Federal Trade Commission‘s Division of Consumer and Business Educations. “One reason is that distribution varies by state and territory. And scammers, always at the ready, are taking advantage of the confusion.”
Tressler offered these tips from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to ensure you don’t fall for a COVID-19 vaccine scam:
- Contact a trusted source for information. Check with state or local health departments to learn when and how to get the COVID-19 vaccine. You can also talk with your health care provider or pharmacist.
- Don’t pay to sign up for the vaccine. Anyone who asks for a payment to put you on a list, make an appointment for you or reserve a spot in line is a scammer.
- Ignore sales ads for the COVID-19 vaccine. You can’t buy it – anywhere. The vaccine is only available at federal- and state-approved locations.
- Watch for unexpected or unusual texts. If your health care provider or pharmacist has used text messages to contact you in the past, you might get a text from them about the vaccine. If you get a text, call your health care provider or pharmacist directly to make sure they sent the text. But scammers are texting, too. So don’t click on links in text messages – especially messages you didn’t expect.
- Don’t open emails, attachments, or links from people you don’t know, or that come unexpectedly. You could download dangerous malware onto your computer or phone.
- Don’t share your personal, financial, or health information with people you don’t know. No one from a vaccine distribution site, health care provider’s office, pharmacy or health care payer, like a private insurance company or Medicare, will call, text or email you asking for your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number to sign you up to get the vaccine.
If you are solicited by what you believe to be a COVID-19 vaccine scam, I want to know about it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The FTC wants to know about it, too. You can report any type of consumer fraud to the federal agency via ReportFraud.ftc.gov. You should also consider alerting your state’s attorney general or consumer protection agency. No matter what state you live in, you can link to that agency via the National Association of Attorneys General’s website, ConsumerResources.org.
Copyright 2021 Wise Choices TM. All rights reserved.
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