When times are tough, you may feel pressure to make quick decisions. Scammers rely on this sense of urgency to trick people into giving them money and personal information. Staying informed and calm can help you avoid these types of scams.
Since the vaccination rollout began, there have been reports of increased COVID-19-related scams and phishing across the country.
To help you determine whether you are being scammed, remember these facts about getting a vaccine:
- It does not cost money to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
Also, you can’t pay to put your name on a list to access the vaccine.
- Don’t trust anyone who offers help, and then asks for money or personal information.
No legitimate vaccine distribution site, health care provider or private insurance company will call asking for money or personally identifiable information — such as your Social Security number, date of birth, bank account numbers or credit card numbers and expiration dates — to sign you up to get the vaccine.
- Beware of providers offering other COVID-19 products, treatments or medicines.
Consult your health care provider before paying for or receiving any COVID-19-related treatment.
- Don’t trust caller ID – it can be faked.
Even if it might look like a real call from a real government agency, don’t trust it. Government agencies don’t call you with threats or promises of – or demands for – money.
Keep yourself and your loved ones on the lookout for phony websites, suspicious calls, texts, emails and other outreach claiming early access to the vaccine. You can also take the following steps to stop these scams:
- Find trusted sources of information.
- Share information from trusted sources.
- Discourage others from sharing information from unverified sources.
If you have become a victim of fraud or phishing related to COVID-19, do not be afraid to report it. Contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline online or via phone at 1-866-720-5721. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission scams page has tips to help you avoid scams. You should report scams on the Federal Trade Commission website.
For more information on scams and rumors about the vaccination, visit the Coronavirus Rumor Control page.