With distribution of COVID-19 vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration underway, scammers are trying to capitalize on the rollout. Vaccination plans will vary across state and local governments. Check with your state or local health department to learn when and how to get the COVID-19 vaccine. You can also talk with your health care provider, pharmacist, or health insurance provider to learn more.
Many Federal Agencies are sharing tips to avoid vaccine related-scams:
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, including online pharmacies. The vaccine is only available at federal- and state-approved locations, such as vaccination centers and pharmacies.
Since the start of the pandemic, fraudsters have been bombarding consumers with pitches for phony remedies, and that’s unlikely to abate as the vaccines roll out and new tests hit the market.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says consumers should be on the lookout for these signs of vaccine scams:
- Requests that you to pay out of pocket to receive a shot or get on a vaccine waiting list
- Ads for vaccines in websites, social media posts, emails or phone calls
- Marketers offering to sell or ship doses of COVID-19 vaccines
In short, you can’t pay to skip the line, reserve your spot, or join a critical trial. Be wary of any inbound calls or texts that ask for your Social Security number, financial details, or insurance information to reserve your spot.