Fraudsters are promising early access to vaccines or even a personal shipment of vaccines — at a cost, of course. But their offers aren’t legit, and those they scam could end up with their personal information exposed and money stolen without ever getting the vaccine.
Bottom line: If you’re sent communication about vaccines that seems fishy, check it out with your local health department. Don’t give out personal information such as your bank account information or Social Security number when solicited by someone you don’t know — no health department or vaccination site would require that information to get you vaccinated. And you should only be vaccinated at authorized vaccination sites.
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 legit.
SCAM: 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.
SCAM: You’re told to pay to put your name on a waiting list
SCAM: You’re asked to schedule appointments through unverified platforms
Unless you’re certain your local health department is scheduling vaccine appointments on Eventbrite or similar platforms, you should avoid registering through sites unaffiliated with your health department or pharmacy.
It’s best to schedule an appointment through your health department or local pharmacy.
SCAM: You’re told to pay to have the vaccine shipped to you
Vaccine distributors are not shipping doses of the vaccine to individuals, and you shouldn’t administer the vaccine to yourself. You should only receive a vaccine at authorized vaccination sites, which you can find through your state health department or the CDC.
SCAM: You’re made to take additional tests before you get a vaccine
How to avoid getting scammed
Staying vigilant and informed is the best way to prevent scammers from accessing your money or private information.
It’s best to reach out to your health care provider directly to get the facts, rather than solely interact with an unknown person through email or text. It’s unlikely that a legitimate source would ask you to pay for a vaccine or visit a glitchy link.
If an unknown source asks for your Social Security number, bank account information or insurance ID, don’t give it to them unless you’ve verified their identity with an official source, such as your health department or health care provider.
There are a few places where you can report vaccine scams:
- The Federal Trade Commissions’ ReportFraud.ftc.gov, which shares information with law enforcement
- The FBI’s tipline, at tips.fbi.gov or 1-800-CALL-FBI
- The HHS’ Office of Inspector General, at tips.hhs.gov or 1-800-HHS-TIPS
- The Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker