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Beware the COVID Vaccine Scams

With distribution of COVID-19 vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration underway, scammers are trying to capitalize on the rollout.

No surprises there, right? Scammers will take any opportunity to separate people from their money.

About a week ago, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) posted an alert about a COVID-19 vaccines scam survey.

They reported that people have reported getting emails and text messages asking them to complete a limited-time survey about the Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca vaccine in exchange for a "free reward," for which they're asked to pay shipping fees. Many of these emails and texts look completely legitimate.

Our advice to you is simple.

Do NOT respond to any such messages. Don't click any links. This is a scam. There's no survey and no reward.

What can you do to protect yourself and elderly loved ones from these fraudsters? The FTC offers these tips to avoid vaccine related-scams:

  • Don't pay to sign up for the vaccine. Anyone who asks for a payment to put you on a list, make an appointment for you, or reserve a spot in line is a scammer.

  • Ignore sales ads for the COVID-19 vaccine. You can't buy it – anywhere, including online pharmacies. The vaccine is only available at federal- and state-approved locations, such as vaccination centers and pharmacies.

  • Watch for unexpected or unusual texts. Don't click on links in text messages – especially messages you didn't expect. If your health care provider or pharmacist has used text messages to contact you in the past, you might get a text from them about the vaccine. If you get a text, call your health care provider or pharmacist directly to make sure they sent the text. Scammers are texting, too.

  • Don't open emails, attachments, or links from people you don't know, or that come unexpectedly. You could download dangerous malware onto your computer or phone.

  • Don't share your personal, financial, or health information with people you don't know. No one from a vaccine distribution site, health care provider's office, pharmacy, health insurance company or Medicare, will call, text, or email you asking for your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number to sign you up to get the vaccine.

In short, you can't pay to skip the line, reserve your spot, or join a critical trial. Be wary of any inbound calls or texts that ask for your Social Security number, financial details, or insurance information to reserve your spot.

If a suspicious text or email comes you way, or if you've been scammed, report it to the FTC online,

Stay safe, everyone!


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