Coronavirus scams are spreading nearly as fast as the virus itself. Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of innocent people, often using fear as a means to pressure victims into giving up personal information and scamming them out of their money. Here are a few scams to look out for as well as how to avoid them.
SCAM 1: You're asked to pay for your vaccine.
You won't have to pay to receive the Covid-19 vaccine when it's your turn. If you're asked to pay or provide private information, that's not legitimate.
You should only receive a Covid-19 vaccine at an official vaccination site such as hospitals or pharmacies. If you're unsure where to find your local vaccination site, you can look them up by state through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It's possible your vaccine provider will charge you an "administration fee" for giving you the shot. You can be reimbursed for this fee through your insurance or, if you're not insured, through the Health Resources and Services Administration's Provider Relief Fund, per the CDC. If you can't afford the fee, though, you won't be turned away.
SCAM 2: You're offered early access for a fee.
If you receive an offer to get your Covid-19 vaccine early for a fee, ignore it. No health department or vaccination site would vaccinate someone ahead of schedule if they paid for it.
The FBI warned of this scam in December 2020, and reports from the Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker show that unknown scammers have sent unsolicited texts to random users, offering them access to the vaccine regardless of where in the vaccination schedule they fall.
SCAM 3: You're told to pay to put your name on a waiting list.
As previously mentioned, your local health department or vaccination site will not reach out to you and ask for payment to be put on a waiting list. If sites do have extra vaccines that must be used within a few hours, you won't be asked to pay for them.
If you suspect a possible scam, here are a few places where you can report vaccine scams:
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