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COVID-19: Police Issue Warning For Vaccine Scams

Police agencies in the Hudson Valley issued an alert for COVID-19 vaccine scams.
Police agencies in the Hudson Valley issued an alert for COVID-19 vaccine scams. Photo Credit: cdc.org

With allocations of the COVID-19 vaccine being shipped across the country, some law enforcement agencies are warning of schemers looking to take advantage of vulnerable residents during the pandemic.

The Scarsdale Police Department was the latest to issue an alert advising of schemers who have been using the announcement of a COVID-19 vaccine to obtain personal identifying information or cash during scams.

Scarsdale Police Chief Andrew Matturo said you may be in the midst of a COVID-19-related scam if:

  • You receive a telephone call, text message, email, or computer pop-up that you did not solicit;
  • The solicitor requests unusual payment terms (for example, prepaid debit or gift cards or electronic wiring of funds);
  • The solicitor requests your bank account information, social security number or other personal information or credit card number;
  • The solicitor instills a sense of urgency.

Matturo noted that there have been no reported instances of scammers in the area, but law enforcement agencies are preparing for potential schemers looking to take advantage of the rollout of the vaccine.

The Better Business Bureau also issued a warning that consumers could notice an increase in suspicious texts or emails claiming to have information about the vaccine in exchange for personal information.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in regards to avoiding getting scammed:

  • You likely will not need to pay anything out of pocket to get the vaccine during this public health emergency;
  • You can’t pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine;
  • You can’t pay to get early access to the vaccine;
  • No one from a vaccine distribution site or health care payer, like a private insurance company, will call you asking for your Social Security number or your credit card or bank account information to sign you up to get the vaccine;
  • Beware of providers offering other products, treatments, or medicines to prevent the virus;
  • Check with your health care provider before paying for or receiving any COVID-19-related treatment.

“Be vigilant and protect yourself from potential fraud concerning COVID-19 vaccines,” officials cautioned. “You will not be asked for money to enhance your ranking for vaccine eligibility. Government and State officials will not call you to obtain personal information in order to receive the vaccine, and you will not be solicited door to door to receive the vaccine.”

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