SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Some people are rolling up their sleeves to receive some of the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Others are thinking of ways to take advantage of those who do not have access to it yet, prompting experts and health leaders to warn the community against vaccine scams.
“Scammers are using telemarketing calls, text messages, social media platforms, and door-to-door visits to perpetrate COVID-19-related scams,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s website.
Scammers are utilizing the heightened anxiety surrounding the vaccine to try to get people’s personal information and/or steal their money.
“Fraudsters are offering COVID-19 tests, HHS grants, and Medicare prescription cards in exchange for personal details, including Medicare information. However, these services are unapproved and illegitimate.”
HHS pointed out this personal information could be used to “fraudulently bill health care programs and commit medical identity theft.”
Right now, the vaccine is available to frontline health care workers; residents of long-term care facilities will be among the first groups to get it.
The Federal Trade Commission’s website says these are some things you should be aware of:
- You likely will NOT need to pay anything out of pocket to get the vaccine during this public health emergency. (The federal government has already paid for the cost of the vaccine).
- You can NOT pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine.
- You can NOT pay to get early access to the vaccine.
- 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.
- Beware of providers offering other products, treatments, or medicines to prevent the virus. Check with your health care provider before paying for or receiving any COVID-19-related treatment.
“If you get a call, text, email — or even someone knocking on your door — claiming they can get you early access to the vaccine, STOP. That’s a scam. Don’t pay for a promise of vaccine access or share personal information,” according to the FTC.
You can report suspected scams here.