COVID-19 Vaccine Scams
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As the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out continues, it’s important to be on the lookout for scams. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) recently issued a new warning about vaccine scams:
- Beware of scams offering early access to vaccines for a fee.
- Keep an eye out for phishing scams where scammers email or text you with phony vaccine information.
- Steer clear of scammers trying to sell fake versions of vaccines.
Here are the facts:
- You can’t pay to get early access to the vaccine.
- Medicare covers the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are also free to others throughout the country, although providers may charge an administration fee.
- Don’t share your personal or financial information if someone calls, texts, or emails you promising to get you the vaccine for a fee.
Tips and Best Practices
There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself from scammers. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has the following recommendations:
- Hang up on robocalls. Don’t press any numbers. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from scam Coronavirus treatments to work-at-home schemes. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls, instead.
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. Scammers are trying to get you to buy products that aren’t proven to treat or prevent COVID-19 — online or in stores. At this time, there also are no FDA-authorized home test kits for the Coronavirus. Visit the FDA to learn more.
- Know who you’re buying from. Online sellers may claim to have in-demand products, like cleaning, household, and health and medical supplies when, in fact, they don’t.
- Don’t respond to texts and emails about checks from the government. The details are still being worked out. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer. This goes for phone calls, too. The government will not call and ask you to verify your Social Security number to become eligible.
- Remember, NO Government agency – the IRS, Social Security, or Treasury – will ever ask you for your information by phone, text or email.
- Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. They could download viruses onto your computer or device.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying they have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).