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Scammers now promising COVID shots to steal consumers' money and personal information

Vaccine in syringe.jpg
Posted at 6:15 AM, Mar 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 14:56:59-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A warning for anyone still waiting to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

Scammers know that a lot of folks are anxious to get their shot and they're taking advantage of that.

It's a shame, but it's not surprising because this is not the first time we've heard of COVID-related scams.

Soon after the pandemic started, we began hearing about PPE, mask, and hand sanitizer scams.

Now scam artists have turned their attention to the COVID vaccine. "You know the scammers follow the headlines. So whatever is in the headlines, they are going to take advantage of," Colleen Tressler with the Federal Trade Commission explained.

Tressler said consumers have reported getting calls, texts, and emails from scammers who claimed they could help get that person a shot, all while trying to either steal their money or personal information.

"They were asking for money to put you on a list, to make an appointment for you, to reserve a space in line, something like that. Or some of the scammers might even say, 'You know we’re calling from Medicare, you know we have a special offer, we just need to verify some information so you can get your vaccine,'" Tressler said.

The FTC said despite what someone may tell you, you can't pay to get your name on a vaccine list or get a COVID shot. You shouldn't pay anyone to make an appointment for you or get early access to the vaccine. And if someone contacts you about getting the coronavirus shot and then wants your Social Security, bank account, or credit card information, that’s a scam.

Tressler said scammers are always coming up with new ways to separate you from your money.

"When I get a prescription refilled, I’ll get a text from my pharmacy. Well, some of the scammers are sending these texts. So you have to be careful. It may look like it’s coming from your pharmacy, and even though you normally get texts from your pharmacy, just take that extra step, that extra two minutes it takes to call your pharmacy and verify, 'I got this text from you, it says such and such. Just want to make sure you sent it,'" Tressler added.

Click here to schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine.

Read more about who's eligible to receive the vaccine here.