The Federal Trade Commission, the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General have been issuing alerts about the increase in coronavirus fraud as consumer and government agencies ramp up their efforts to protect the public from predators looking to make money off people’s fears about getting the virus. Scammers aren’t just using email or telemarketing calls. They are also coming at people via messages on social media platforms, and they’re even performing door-to-door visits, HHS says. Here is what you need to know to avoid a coronavirus-vaccine-related scam:
- Be skeptical of offers to pay for a vaccine on your behalf. Because the coronavirus is a public health emergency, it’s unlikely you will have to pay for the vaccine, and you should also beware of scammers claiming to be medical professionals and demanding payment for treating a friend or relative for COVID-19.
- No, you can’t pay to get your name on a list to get the coronavirus vaccine, so don’t fall for scammers’ promises about getting early access.
- No, that’s not a government official calling you about getting vaccinated., and no one from a vaccine distribution site or health care payer, like a private insurance company, will call you asking for your Social Security number or your credit card or bank account information to sign you up to get the vaccine.
- Watch out for offers of alternative cures for the coronavirus, and while waiting for a vaccine, don’t get so impatient that you become a victim of a scam – if you’re concerned about when you can get vaccinated, check with your health-care provider.
Stay safe everyone and continue to #BeCyberSmart