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BBB Warns of COVID-19 Vaccine Scams

Photo courtesy of MGN Online

Better Business Bureau Serving Acadiana has heard reports of cons ranging from phishing calls for personal information to phony messages claiming consumers need to pay to guarantee a dose of the vaccine.

Posted: Feb 24, 2021 11:38 AM

COVID-19 vaccine distribution is spreading across Acadiana and scammers have been quick to take advantage.

Better Business Bureau Serving Acadiana has heard reports of cons ranging from phishing calls for personal information to phony messages claiming consumers need to pay to guarantee a dose of the vaccine.

If you are eligible to receive the vaccine, be sure to double check any messages before sharing personal information.

How the Scam Works:

Consumers receive a phone call, social media message or an email saying they are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

It appears to come from a friend, public health official or someone from a local hospital or clinic.

You start to schedule your appointment, but you quickly find there’s a catch. The person who contacted you needs personal information or requires you to pay up front.

In yet another version, scammers are offering vaccine shots for as low as $150, on apps and through email.

Always be sure to check it against information from your local government or official news sources.

Even if you do not pay, sharing personal information with scammers opens you up to the risk of identity theft.

BBB offers the following tips on how to Spot a Coronavirus Vaccine Con:

Know your area’s plan for rolling out the vaccine. Each state has its own process for dispensing the vaccine. Check with your local government or health department.

Research carefully. Scammers are very creative so be skeptical of anything that seems too good – or crazy – to be true. Double check any information about the vaccine with official news sources and be aware none of the vaccines can be currently purchased online or in stores.

Check with your doctor. If you want a vaccine early, reach out to your healthcare provider about your options. If you do not have a primary care physician, check out the official website of your local health department for more information.

Guard your government-issued numbers. Never offer your Medicare ID number, Social Security number, health plan information or banking information to anyone you don’t know or trust.

Think the link may be real? Double check the URL. Scammers often buy official-looking URL domains to use in their cons. Be careful to ensure that the link destination is really what it claims to be. If the message claims to be from the local government, make sure the URL ends in .gov. When in doubt, perform a separate internet search for the website or call the source directly.

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