COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for use by the FDA and are now rolling out across the country. Unfortunately, scammers are seizing on confusion around the vaccine to steal cash and personal information. Follow these guidelines to help protect yourself and stay safe while you wait to receive a vaccine.
You Don’t Have to Pay for Your Vaccine
This is the most important red flag to pay attention to because it is the basis for most COVID-19 vaccine scams. Per the CDC, vaccine doses are to be given to the American people at no cost. If you’re asked to pay for the vaccine this could be a sign of a potential scam. However, it is possible that whoever is giving you the shot could charge an administration fee. Your insurance provider should reimburse you, but if you’re uninsured, the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund is in place to cover the cost of the fee.
In the end, no one can be turned away for a vaccine even if you can’t afford the administration fee. When it’s your turn to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, be wary of anyone asking for payment.
Not sure where to get the vaccine? You can find your local vaccination site through the CDC.
There Is No “Early Access” or Ability to “Cut the Line”
Each state makes its own plan regarding who should get the vaccination first, but regardless of the distribution order that’s been determined, you can’t pay for immediate or early access to a vaccine. Be cautious of anyone posing as an employee of your local vaccination site or health department reaching out for payment to be put on a waiting list or to receive a vaccine early. This also includes ads on social media and emails. If sites do have any extra vaccines that need to be used in short time, you won’t need to pay for one.
A Vaccine Will Not Be Shipped to You
There are a couple problems with this one. First, distributors of the vaccine are not shipping “secret” doses to individuals – or anyone for that matter. Do not accept an offer to ship a vaccine directly to you. Second, please don’t give yourself the vaccine unless you are a licensed medical professional.
Don’t Post a Picture of Your Vaccine Card on Social Media
Its exciting when you receive your vaccine, but it is not a good idea to post your vaccine card on social media. This card has all your personal information including your name, date of birth and where you received your vaccine. If you post this on social media, someone could use it for identity theft.
It’s not always possible to know all the scams that are occurring at any given moment so it’s best to stay vigilant in order to protect your finances and personal information. If you believe you have been the victim of COVID-19 fraud, immediately report it to the Federal Trade Commissions’ ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
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