There is no situation a scam artist won’t try to exploit in order to make money. The current coronavirus pandemic is no different. In order to make money scam artists have offered fake cures, bought necessary supplies and resold them at obscene mark-ups, and more. The most recent COVID-19 related scams all revolve around the rollout of the vaccine.
The Many Faces of a Vaccine Scam
Authorities have already received reports on several variations of the COVID-19 vaccine scam.
- An offer to “move you up the line” and get you falsely categorized as an essential worker so you can get the vaccine sooner – for a fee.
- An attempt to convince you that there is a vaccine waiting list, and you need to pay to be added to it.
- Offers of some medicine, natural or otherwise, that will prevent or cure COVID-19.
- Scammers may even show up your door offering to inject you and your family with the vaccine for a price. This is the most concerning variation, as not only will they take your money, but they will inject you with an unknown substance, likely without the benefit of medical training.
If you are approached with any of these scenarios, whatever you do, do not give the scammer money! Their actions are illegal and likely dangerous. They are not trying to help you or your family; they just want your money.
As a side note, if you do know someone who has access to the vaccine and they offer to somehow get you vaccinated ahead of schedule, do not take them up on it. While we all want to get back to normal, the current priority levels for vaccination are intended to ensure that those who are the greatest risk for the virus get treated first. Essential workers and vulnerable community members must take priority!
Other Ways to Spot a Scam
Still unsure if the offer you’ve received is a scam? There are a few red flags to watch out for. If what you are being told contradicts the available information from your local health department, it is probably a scam. If you are being asked to pay for the vaccine, it is likely a scam. The vaccine is being provided for free, and while doctors or pharmacies may charge for the actual administration of the vaccine, that should be covered by any insurance policy.
If being asked to pay for the vaccine doesn’t discourage you, pay attention to how you are being asked to pay. Being scammed via bank transfer is very common, but because this is a bitcoin-era scam, you may even be asked to pay in cryptocurrency! If you are asked to pay in gift cards (such as iTunes or Amazon cards), this is another huge red flag. No legitimate medical professional or government official will ask for payment in bitcoin or iTunes cards.
That said, not every COVID-19 scam is a money scam. The scammer might also just call you to put you on the waiting list and ask you to confirm your personal details, such as your full name, address, date of birth, SSN… In short, everything they need to make you the victim of identity theft.
Hopefully these tips will help you avoid a scam. If not, you can contact Claim Justice for help to get your money back.