In 2020 fashion, there is another scam spreading of a fake COVID-19 vaccine. Now that both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been approved by the FDA for emergency use and essential workers have begun receiving their first doses, scammers have chosen to take advantage of a desperate situation. Early yesterday, December 17, the Moderna vaccine joined Pzifer in FDA approval for public distribution. If you are experiencing unsolicited phone calls about the COVID-19 vaccine, here is what you need to know.
HHS warns of vaccine scam
HHS issued an alert to the public regarding potential fraud surrounding the news of a vaccine, cautioning people to be aware of malicious behavior.
“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,” HHS wrote in an alert on its webpage Dec. 3.
Scamming red flags
The biggest red flag to look for if you are unsure if you are being scammed is if someone is calling you about receiving your coronavirus vaccine. No government or state official will be calling you personally about the vaccine. Another red flag is if you receive an unsolicited phone call from someone asking for your personal information such as social security, or form of payment. A good rule to live by is to never give someone your personal information over the phone.
“If you’re receiving unsolicited offers for a vaccine — not one, not two, but about 10 red flags should go up,” said Nenette Day, assistant special agent in charge at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General. “There is no way that you under any circumstance should deal with anybody except a known and reputable medical provider or pharmacy.”
Day emphasized that Medicare would not call beneficiaries with vaccine offers, adding that government officials would also not contact individuals for highly personal information such as Social Security numbers.