MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Desperation to get the COVID-19 vaccine means you may need to be on alert. Scammers are trying to take advantage of people wanting to get the shot as soon as possible, and that’s prompting a renewed warning from federal authorities.
“It said you’ll get the free vaccine but you must be there at this certain time and you’ll get the vaccine,” said Susan Esquivel.
It’s calls like the one Esquivel received that’s triggering a new warning from several government agencies.
Watch out for texts or robocalls asking you to pay money up front to get on a vaccine list. And don’t click on links in any texts or emails about fake opportunities to get the shot.
“Older adults are being prioritized for vaccinations. And while they are not necessarily the group that is most likely to be scammed, that honor, if you could say honor, belongs to 18 to 25 year olds, according to recent studies. But older adults do tend to lose more money when they are scammed,” said Patrick Webre, with the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau.
A big concern is con artists demanding financial and personal information.
Federal regulators warn more consumers will soon hear from crooks calling about vaccines while impersonating an insurance company or health department.
“The best advice regarding vaccines is to visit the website or call your local and state health department to find out the process for your state,” said Kayla Hernandez with the FCC’s Consumer Affairs and Outreach Division.
Experts want to remind that credit card info, bank account number or social security number are not required in order to get a vaccine appointment. Everyone will get a shot for free from an approved provider.
“Because the vaccine is so new, and a lot of people are thinking about it and wanting it, some folks are even desperate to get this, we know activities related to scams are happening,” said Bao Vang with the Better Business Bureau.
If you suspect you or a loved one has been a victim of a scam, you’re encouraged to call the non-emergency phone number for your local police department.