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FBI Is Warning People to Watch Out for COVID-19 Vaccine Scams

The scammers claim they work for a medical, governmental or insurance agency and ask for money or medical records in exchange for early access to the vaccine.

COVID-19 gave bad actors new ways to scam the public in 2020, and they aren’t slowing down now that the calendar has flipped. The FBI just issued a warning about multiple scams relating to the COVID-19 vaccine. 

The scammers claim they work for a medical, governmental or insurance agency and ask for money or medical records in exchange for early access to the shots, a spot on a vaccine waiting list, offers to undergo additional medical testing when obtaining the vaccine and untrue claims of FDA approval for a vaccine. 

They’re calling, emailing and targeting people with social media advertising in an effort to take advantage of people anxiously waiting for their turn to roll up their sleeves, take the shots and get back to normal sooner rather than later.

Seniors, who are more at-risk at getting COVID-19, are also potentially more likely to get scammed. 

“They’re not avid users like many others, and they’re very much at risk of being taken advantage of online,” Raymond Cockrell of the Killeen Food Care Center told KWTX-10, the CBS affiliate in Kileen, Texas. 

There has been a ton of fraudulent activity during the pandemic, including stimulus check and COVID-19 test scams, that have targeted seniors in particular that it almost seems inevitable that bad actors would use the vaccine to continue to harass and make money off people. But that doesn’t mean you or your loved ones have to get caught up in one.

The FBI in Oklahoma City shared some simple reminders in a tweet: You cannot pay to get your name on the list for the vaccine (it’s free), and it’s best to ask your doctor about when and where you can receive yours. You can also check fda.gov for more information on the vaccine. 

The FBI also reminded people to remember the government won’t ask for personal information such as medical records, verify the spelling of email addresses that look trustworthy and not to download attachments or click on links from unknown individuals. 

If you think you’ve been scammed, you can report it to the FBI (ic3.gov, tips.fbi.gov, or 1-800-CALL-FBI) or Health and Human Services Office (tips.hhs.gov or 1-800-HHS-TIPS).

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