Scammers take a stab at preying on public health fears with COVID-19 schemes.
By Deb Hipp for Debt.com
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a warning in December to Americans that scammers are using the public’s interest in COVID-19 vaccines to obtain personally identifiable information (PII) and money through a number of schemes.
In December, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized both the Pfizer COVID-19 and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use, and those vaccines, along with Operation Warp Speed distribution plans, have been in the news daily.
So, of course, scammers have stepped up to cash in on Americans’ COVID-19 fears and concerns with fake advertisements for vaccines, bogus messages asking for personal information in exchange for a vaccine and offers for early access to a vaccine for a deposit or fee. Fortunately, however you don’t have to get ripped off by these vaccine opportunists.
Joe McUbed / Shutterstock.com
1. Early access offers
The U.S. government plans through Operation Warp Speed to distribute 300 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to Americans, with initial doses available by January 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Distribution will take place in phases, beginning with health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities.
People 65 and older are next in line, but may have to wait until the spring and there’s a good chance healthy adults over the age of 65 may have to wait until spring or even summer to receive the vaccine. As a result, scammers make false promises of “early access” to a COVID-19 vaccine, counting on some Americans who wish to cut in line. The problem is, there is no actual early access through these offers.
Vaccine scammers only want to take your money in the form of a fee and deposit and then never deliver. “Consult your state’s health department website for up-to-date information about authorized…