5 things to know about the evolving COVID-19 vaccine scams

We are learning more about COVID vaccine scam warnings. Thieves started working even before the vaccine was released, creating ways to try and steal your money and worse. The vaccine distribution is underway and questions about how to get it and where to go are a recipe for scammers to get to work. We have new information you need to know to make sure you or someone you love is not a victim.

“Scammers are always trying to find ways to take advantage of people,” said Leah Napoliello, Vice President of Operations, Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston and South Texas.

1. Do not accept a call about the COVID vaccine

When it comes to the COVID vaccine, the Better Business Bureau wants you to know you should never get a call from someone about the vaccine. They are already seeing this sort of thing happen.

“The scammer will contact the victim saying they can help them get the vaccine early or get them on a list, but in exchange for that, you have to provide payment or your personal information. You don’t want to fall victim to that,” said Napoliello.

These scammers are hoping to get information like social security numbers, date of birth or medicare details. They will also use text messages, emails, and social media messages.

2. Know the rules about COVID vaccine distribution

Crooks are also lying about how you can get your vaccine. Right now there is NOT an option to send a COVID vaccine to your home.

“We have heard of situations where they claim they can get you the vaccine - and I guess they will ship it to you early or to pay to get on a list to get the covid vaccine,” explains Napoliello.

3. Be aware, the vaccine will always be free

You should never have to pay out of pocket for anything related to the COVID vaccine. If someone tries to tell you to pay for facility fees or something random like this, do not pay it. You will also never need to undergo additional medical testing in order to get the vaccine.

4. Make sure aging parents know the vaccine guidelines

Just like other scams, the most common victims are often our aging parents. The BBB recommends that you make certain they know how to use all of the technology devices they have in the home. Also, make sure they know the tips outlined here.

“They will be more likely to be a victim if they are not aware of the protocols that are happening. You have to be aware of that and be on guard for any type of scam in the news right now,” said Napoliello.

5. Your personal doctor is key

The BBB says if your medical provider has used text messages in the past to contact you, you might get a text from them about the vaccine. But you should just directly call them first to make sure. Of course, never share your personal medical information with anyone you don’t know.

Unfortunately, as we continue to move forward with vaccine distribution, scammers will try to come up with new ways to steal from you. Our KPRC Consumer team is always watching for this and we will continue to bring you updates to keep you safe!

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