Tuesday, February 02, 2021

With two vaccines approved by the FDA for emergency use, there is hope for the health and safety of older adults. Unfortunately, scam artists are still taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus to obtain money and financial information. These scams come in different forms including emails, texts and social media posts. Below are some helpful tips to avoid falling for a COVID-19 vaccine related scam.

Tips to Avoid COVID-19 Vaccine-Related Fraud

  • Do not buy any kind of COVID-19 vaccine or treatment on the internet
  • Consult the Illinois Department of Public Health or your county’s health department website for up-to-date information about authorized vaccine distribution channels
  • Ignore online, phone and text offers for the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Hang up on any calls, including robocalls, which direct you to take immediate action or provide personal information to receive the vaccine
  • Consult your primary care physician before undergoing any vaccination
  • Don’t share your personal or health information with anyone other than known and trusted medical professionals

What Does a COVID-19 Vaccine Scam Look Like?

  • Advertisements or offers for early access to a vaccine upon payment of a deposit or fee
  • Requests asking you to pay out of pocket to obtain the vaccine or pay to put your name on a COVID-19 vaccine waiting list (different from the local county COVID-19 vaccine registries which are free)
  • Offers to undergo additional medical testing or procedures when obtaining a vaccine
  • Marketers offering to sell and/or ship doses of a vaccine, domestically or internationally, in exchange for payment of a deposit or fee
  • Unsolicited emails, phone calls, or personal contact from someone claiming to be from a medical office, insurance company, or COVID-19 vaccine center requesting personal and/or medical information to determine recipients’ eligibility to participate in clinical vaccine trials or obtain the vaccine
  • Claims of FDA approval for a vaccine that cannot be verified
  • Advertisements for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online, or from unsolicited/unknown sources
  • Individuals contacting you in person, by phone, or by email to tell you the government or government officials require you to receive a COVID-19 vaccine

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) & Illinois Attorney General

Report COVID-19 Vaccine Scams

  • File a claim with the Office of the Illinois Attorney General
  • Contact the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Elder Fraud Hotline at 833–FRAUD–11 (833–372–8311). The hotline is staffed by counselors and case-managers every day 6am to 11pm
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Reports go into the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Database, and are shared with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies
  • If it’s a cyber scam, file an Internet Crime Complaint with the FBI

Other Resources:

AgeGuide COVID-19 Resources

Federal Agencies Warn of Emerging Fraud Schemes Related to COVID-19 Vaccines

Attorney General Raoul Urges Illinois Residents to be Alert for COVID-19 Vaccine Scams

[Video] COVID-19 Vaccine Scams


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