COVID-19 vaccinations have become increasingly available to millions of people, but that increase has brought with it scam artists attempting to cheat you out of your money and personal information.
It’s best to reach out to your health care provider or local health department directly to get legitimate facts rather than interacting with an unknown person through email or text. A legitimate source won’t ask you to pay for a vaccine or visit a questionable link.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector has these tips to avoid being victimized by COVID-19 fraudsters:
- Offers to purchase COVID-19 vaccination cards are scams. Valid proof of COVID-19 vaccination can only be provided to individuals by legitimate providers administering vaccines.
- Photos of COVID-19 vaccination cards should not be shared on social media. Posting content that includes your date of birth, health care details or other personally identifiable information can be used to steal your identity.
- Be vigilant to protect yourself. You will not be asked for money to enhance your ranking for vaccine eligibility. Government and state officials will not call you to obtain personal information to receive the vaccine.
- Beneficiaries should be cautious of unsolicited requests for their personal, medical, and financial information. Medicare will not call beneficiaries to offer COVID-19-related products, services, or benefit review.
- Be suspicious of any unexpected calls or visitors offering COVID-19 vaccine test options or other supplies. If you receive a suspicious call, hang up immediately.
- Do not respond to, or open hyperlinks in, text messages about COVID-19 from unknown individuals.
- Ignore offers or advertisements for vaccine offers or any COVID-19 testing on social media sites. If you make an appointment for a COVID-19 test online, make sure the location is an official testing site.
- Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone claiming to offer grants related to COVID-19 treatment or vaccination.
If you suspect COVID-19 health care fraud or have been a victim of a scam, options for reporting it include:
- HHS online or by calling (800) HHS-TIPS/(800) 447-8477.
- The Federal Trade Commission’s ReportFraud.ftc.gov, which shares information with law enforcement.
- The FBI’s tip line, at tips.fbi.gov or (800) CALL-FBI.
- The Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker.
In California, to sign up for a notification when you’re eligible for a vaccine, visit myturn.ca.gov, and for more information on the vaccine effort, visit the Vaccinate All 58 webpage. For the latest COVID-19 updates, visit covid19.ca.gov.
For any health care concerns, COVID-19-related or otherwise, contact a medical professional licensed by one of the Department of Consumer Affairs’ numerous health care licensing entities.