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article imageThe COVID-19 vaccine — Know the facts to avoid being scammed

By Karen Graham     Dec 19, 2020 in Health
The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on everyone - and now that we have two vaccines rolling out - our outlook for the future is a bit brighter. However - HHS and the FTC are issuing a PUBLIC WARNING regarding vaccine scams.
The Internet and our smartphones are sometimes full of false information and hoaxes. The US Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Trade Commission wants the public to know some facts about the coronavirus vaccine so that an informed public will not be taken in by either phone scams or online scams.
With two coronavirus vaccines rolling out across the country, healthcare workers and those high-risk patients in long term care facilities will be getting the vaccine first. It is not too surprising to know that people are already looking to make some money off this distribution scheme.
Scammers are good at what they do. They will either impersonate someone from a local pharmacy or say they are healthcare officials, offering you a vaccination by putting you at "the head of the line." They will also tell you they need some personal information, like a social security number or credit card number.
The facts about the coronavirus vaccine rollout
Scammers will try to get the unwary to pay them money for early access to the vaccine. They will also try to get you to give up private information, such as your Social Security Number, Medicare number, or bank account information.
The Better Business Bureau says "you should ignore anyone who wants you to take immediate action. If they want you to do something quick—in 30 minutes, that's usually the tip-off to the rip-off, according to a senior BBB official. "The only thing you should do in 30 minutes is buy a pizza."
Scams can also arrive as text messages or robocalls in which the scammer poses as a health official or government agency on your smartphone. They also work very well on fake Internet websites that offer information or treatment for COVID-19.
The HHS asks that you "ignore offers or advertisements for COVID-19 testing or treatments on social media sites. If you make an appointment for a COVID-19 test online, make sure the location is an official testing site."
Be assured, coronavirus crimes are already rampant. The FTC recently reported over 131,000 complaints linked to the pandemic—including phony charities, fake health claims, and mortgage and student loan relief frauds.
But here's the bottom line, folks: You will not be expected to pay for a coronavirus vaccine and there’s no way for you to pay to get the vaccine early. And this is a fact.
If you suspect COVID-19 health care fraud, report it immediately online or call 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477). You can also report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
More about covid19 vaccine, Scams, Department of Homeland Security, social security numbers
 
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