beware: covid vaccine scams

New York Attorney General Letitia James continues to warn New Yorkers about potential scams offering early access to the COVID-19 vaccine. “Throughout this pandemic, scammers have found ways to victimize the public, with the vaccine distribution process being their latest method for fraud. My office remains committed to rooting out [these] scams, and I encourage the public to report suspected illegal activity to my office.”

The Office of Attorney General (OAG) warns New Yorkers about anyone who calls, e-mails, or texts individuals offering access to one of the vaccines. Some scammers may use online platforms with similar schemes. They may impersonate public health officials from organizations such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO). They may also offer to ship a COVID-19 vaccine directly to homes, provide special access to vaccines or sell special cold storage device for vaccines. 

A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that fraudulent websites inviting the public to buy vaccines, and using the Moderna and Pfizer names, have cropped up across the internet. Consumers should know that no legitimate vaccine can be bought online. 

Here are some tips to help New Yorkers avoid vaccine-related scams: 

  • Be wary of anyone calling or emailing you with offers of a vaccine and do not give out your Social Security number, personal credit card, or bank account information. No one from a vaccine distributor, health care company, or private insurance company will ask for this information.  
  • If you have health insurance, you should not need to pay anything out of pocket to get the vaccine while the pandemic remains a public health emergency. If you don’t have health insurance, the provider may only charge an administration fee. However, in many instances, you likely will not be required to pay the administration fee.
  • You can’t pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine.
  • If you get an e-mail about a COVID-19 vaccine, check the sender’s email domain to make sure it matches the website of the organization sending the e-mail and be wary of clicking on any hyperlinks or providing any login or other personal information.
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