How to Spot a Coronavirus Vaccine Con:
- Research carefully: Scammers are very creative, so be skeptical of anything that seems too good – or crazy – to be true. Double check any information about the vaccine with official news sources. And be aware that none of the vaccines can be currently purchased online or in stores.
- Check with your doctor: If you want a vaccine early, reach out to your healthcare provider about your options. If you don’t have a primary care physician, check out the official website of your local health department for more information
- Ignore calls for immediate action. While you may want to be first in line for the vaccine, don’t let that sense of urgency cloud your judgment. Scammers try to get you to act before you think. Don’t fall for it.
- Think the link may be real? Double check the URL. Scammers often buy official-looking URLs to use in their cons. Be careful that the link is really what it pretends to be. If the message alleges to come from the local government, make sure the URL ends in .gov (for the United States) or .ca (for Canada). When in doubt, perform a separate internet search for the website.
Here’s additional information you will need to protect yourself from the scammers put together by our Westchester Consumer Protection Office – based on some of the tricks scammers are using – remember, they use these tricks to steal your money and for identity theft:
- The vaccine is expected to be free – you don’t need to pay for it.
- There are no sign-up lists for the vaccine.
- You can’t pay money to get your vaccine earlier.
- Medicare or Social Security (or other government agencies) won’t be calling you about getting your vaccine – scammers often act like they are calling from government agencies.
- You don’t need to give out your social security number, credit card or bank info before you are able to get the vaccine – ALWAYS BE CAREFUL when anyone asks for this information!
Also, beware of scammers or even salespeople offering to sell you unnecessary products, treatments or medicines to prevent the virus – always check with your doctor first.
It’s possible that the scammers may even mail out phony vaccines – you MUST only get your vaccine when available from your health care provider or regional public health office.
If you are contacted by someone looking to sell you early access to the vaccine, contact the Westchester Consumer Protection office at 914-995-2155 or at ConPro@westchestergov.com – we would be happy to help you!