Have you seen advertisements for early access to a COVID vaccine and all you have to do is pay upfront? Well, that is one of many ploys that scammers are using in the latest wave of crime surrounding the pandemic. The FBI is working with several governmental agencies, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), to alert the public about emerging vaccine fraud and recently released details on a number of scams in the marketplace.
Passive cons like advertisements on websites or social media platforms are one thing but fraudsters are also using more aggressive, and potentially, more successful tactics. The FBI warned that some criminals are contacting targets directly via phone posing as a government official or by email with a message that you are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Many of the scams ask for payment to obtain the vaccine or to put your name on a COVID-19 vaccine waiting list and often frame the request for payment as an 'out of pocket' expense to appear as a legitimate offer from a medical office or insurer.
How do you combat vaccine fraud?
Awareness is empowering so stay vigilant against fraud of all kinds. In this case, be on alert and rely only on trusted sources of information about COVID vaccine implementation protocols and procedures.
The FDA offers current details about vaccine authorizations so check their website for the latest information (fda.gov).
Your personal healthcare provider should be consulted before undergoing any vaccination.
Keep close tabs on your personal information - especially related to your health and medical history.
The pandemic has ushered in an immense wave of cybercrime and it is more important than ever to remove personal information from data reseller websites as hackers feed off these sources for their criminal activities. Click here to learn more.
The FBI recommends that you check your medical bills and insurance explanation of benefits (EOBs) for any suspicious claims and promptly report any errors to your health insurance provider.
As the COVID fight continues worldwide, it is important to work together, stay aware and take action to keep one step ahead of the criminal activity that is evolving during the pandemic.