Don’t fall for the Covid-19 vaccine scam
As the coronavirus pandemic is continuing to spread around the world and vaccine distribution in the US varies across state and local governments, this unprecedented period of fear, uncertainty, and confusion makes it a perfect opportunity for scammers to rob you of your hard-earned money and personal information. It is in nature of fraudsters to swiftly adapt to the current world situation and its demand.
The best prevention from falling for their scam trap is to make sure you are well-informed about the current situation. If you are interested in getting a covid-19 vaccine, be proactive. Get in touch with your state or local health department and find out how you can register for your shot. You will get up-to-date official information and thus will be less vulnerable to false offers.
How can you outsmart scammers?
We put together a basic list of red flags to keep in mind when dealing with unsolicited calls, texts, or emails regarding covid-19 vaccines.
You are asked to pay to get the vaccine.
The covid-19 vaccine is free. There may be administrative fees for giving the actual shot to patients and you may be charged (and then later claim reimbursement) after your immunization depending on your health provider. But if you are asked to pay ahead, it is a scam.
You are asked to pay to get on a waiting list.
If someone contacts you and asks for a payment to make an appointment for you, put you on a list, or gain any kind of early access to the vaccine, don’t fall for it. You can’t buy a spot in line.
You are offered to buy a vaccine.
You can’t buy a covid-19 vaccine. Ignore ads that pop up online or come straight to your mailbox. Vaccines are only available at approved locations such as pharmacies and vaccination centers.
Whatever they need from you, you are asked to act quickly.
If there is a sense of urgency and a one-time opportunity, take a step back. Scammers know they need to catch you by surprise and not give you time to think, otherwise you might realize who you are dealing with.
You are asked for your financial and health information.
Health insurance companies, vaccine distribution sites, health care providers, or pharmacies won’t ask you for your Social Security number, credit card, or bank account number to sign you up for your vaccine. Hang up.
This last point is tricky though. Legitimate providers might ask for your Social Security number or Medicare number to reimburse you for administrative costs related to the vaccine.
If you are still not sure who you are talking to and whether you should provide the information they require from you, you can always do the following:
- Ask the caller exactly who they represent
- Explain your doubts and why you are reluctant to give them sensitive personal information
- Then politely end the call, find the organization’s phone number online on the official website and call them yourself.
To sum up, you should be on guard regarding any vaccine offers from unsolicited or unknown sources via e-mail, telephone calls, or text messages. Of course, an easy way to help you avoid all this is to install a call blocking app on your phone.
We are confident to recommend you our two call blocking apps - Numbo for iOS and Octocaller for Android. Both have a regularly updated database of millions of phone numbers. If an incoming call is a suspicious or reported phone number, the app will let you know. You can easily block it or look up detailed information about it.
Get the app!