COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more widely available across the nation. However, with rollout plans varying by state, individuals are growing desperate to secure an appointment. In times of desperation, scammers look to take advantage. According to the FBI, scammers are using interest in vaccines to obtain personal information and money through various schemes.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is warning consumers to remain alert when preparing to be vaccinated. There is a lot of confusion surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine, so it’s important to know the facts.
It is always free to receive the vaccine. If you receive offers for early access to appointments upon payment, it is a scam. Vaccine distribution sites will not send emails or text messages asking for personal information such as your social security number, Medicare information, or bank account number.
- Consult your state’s health department website for up-to-date information about authorized vaccine distribution channels and only obtain a vaccine through such channels.
- Check the FDA’s website for current information about vaccine emergency use authorizations.
- Consult your primary care physician before undergoing any vaccination.
- Don’t share your personal or health information with anyone other than known and trusted medical professionals.
- Check your medical bills and insurance explanation of benefits (EOBs) for any suspicious claims and promptly report any errors to your health insurance provider.
- Follow guidance and recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other trusted medical professionals.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a dramatic increase in Identity Theft. According to Consumer Reports, there were 1.4 million reports of ID theft in 2020. If you become a victim of identity theft, we encourage you to contact the Federal Trade Commission.
Tips to Avoid Falling Victim to Identity Fraud:
- Do not share photos of COVID-19 vaccination cards.
- Do not print personal identifiers and only use them when absolutely necessary.
- Only reveal information online when the website is securely protected (look for a yellow padlock symbol in the corner of your computer screen).
- Do not provide personal, financial or any other identifying information to a telephone caller.
- Be sure to ask why they are calling, what the information will be used for and then get their name and telephone number to check and see that the caller is legitimate.
- Carefully review all monthly credit card statements and check for unauthorized use.