The COVID-19 Pandemic has left many eager to receive the new vaccines that are starting to be rolled out. Unfortunately, criminals have quickly found new ways to defraud unsuspecting individuals through offers for fake vaccines.
Don’t be fooled by scammers.
Scammers will often play off victims’ fears or desires to gain personal information or solicit fraudulent payments. As ABC7 Los Angeles reports, similar to other COVID-19 related scam techniques, criminals may try to impersonate doctors or government organizations (such as the CDC) in texts, emails, or calls. They may say they have a vaccine available, and all you need to do is give your information or make a payment to sign up. If you act, you could wind up the victim of identity theft, or lose whatever money you paid them.
Like other types of scams, criminals may try to convey a sense of urgency to get you to act. If someone calling is pressuring you into making a decision or asking for your personal information, this could be a sign it’s illegitimate. Also, be sure to check any email addresses from messages you receive. Often, the addresses will be different from the actual organization or will have spelling mistakes.
What to do if you think you’re dealing with a scammer.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you’re dealing with a scammer as criminals can spoof their phone number. If you get a phone call that is suspect, hang up and go on the website of the purported organization that called, find their official number, and call back on your own. As always, never give personal information over the phone if you are not 100% sure who is on the other line.
If you receive an email that looks suspicious, delete it and don’t open any links or attachments. Like you would with a phone call, research the correct contact information for whatever organization they claim to be from and reach out through proper channels.
If you have any questions about the vaccine, contact your health care professionals or local government’s COVID-19 hotline. For more resources on COVID-19 related scams, check out the FCC’s website.