Throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, scammers have been taking advantage of innocent people. The latest scams target older people or those with underlying health conditions who are trying to schedule or have scheduled their COVID-19 vaccine.
The question is how can you protect yourself and your loved ones from being a victim of these vaccine scams? It is important to remember that if you live in the United States, the federal government is providing the vaccine at no charge. When scheduling an appointment for the vaccine make sure you are aware of the following:
- You don’t pay to sign up for the vaccine. You won’t be asked to pay to make an appointment for the vaccine nor is there a fee to be placed on a vaccine waiting list.
- Ignore advertisements for the vaccine. The vaccine cannot be sold. The vaccine is only available at federal and state approved locations. Check with your local health department, hospital system or pharmacy for more details.
- Don’t provide your personal, financial or health insurance information to someone you don’t know. It is important to remember health insurance companies, health departments, and vaccine distribution centers will not ask for your social security, bank account, or a credit/debit card number.
- Think twice before opening unusual emails or texts. Be cautious before clicking on links from sources you are not familiar with.
- Avoid social media posts about COVID-19 testing. Scammers can use this to their advantage.
- Research charitable organizations asking for COVID-19 donations. Specifically avoid if they only accept cash, wires or gift cards.
As we continue to endure this wave of life together, there is a lot for each of us to consider regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. For more information regarding vaccine scams visit the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commission website.