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Experts warn against COVID-19 vaccine scams

Governor Murphy, University Hospital President and CEO Dr. Shereef Elnahal, Department of...
Governor Murphy, University Hospital President and CEO Dr. Shereef Elnahal, Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Dean Dr. Robert Johnson, and Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. visit and inspect University Hospital's COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic in Newark on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 (Edwin J. Torres 2020).(Phil Murphy (Custom credit) | Flickr)
Updated: Dec. 19, 2020 at 9:40 PM CST
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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:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has only approved Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna for Emergency Use Authorization.

“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.

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