While the coronavirus is spreading rapidly throughout the United States, the FDA recently passed an emergency use authorization for the coronavirus vaccine. The FDA worked with Pfizer, BioTech, and Moderna and released emergency-use vaccines to the public in hopes that they can help rid this virus and end this pandemic. People who are sixteen and older can now get the coronavirus vaccine at any pharmacy or their doctor’s office. However, scammers know this and will use this as an excuse to scam their victims out of money. Therefore, it is always a good idea to know how to recognize and avoid COVID vaccine scams.
Types of COVID-19 Vaccine Scams
Phishing Email, Text Message, and Social Media Messenger Scams
Scammers pretend to be the CDC and WHO, sending phishing emails, text messages, and social media messages to their victims about the vaccine. They claim that you can now make an appointment at your doctor’s office for a fee. They send a phishing link to their fake websites, which have a form for victims to fill out. The victims fill the form out, which could then steal their personal information and financial information.
Fake Websites Selling Fake Cures
Scammers create fake phishing websites that look like they are selling fake coronavirus vaccines and cures. They ask for victims’ information in order for them to pay for and receive these so-called vaccines and cures. After the personal and financial information is received, scammers use this information to steal their victims’ identities and money. Victims are then left without the vaccine and scammed out of their money.
Scammers change their Caller ID and pretend to be your doctor, the CDC, the WHO, a pharmacy, or another health agency offering the coronavirus vaccine at a too-good-to-be-true price. They also offer to sell you an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Sometimes, they will even put a time limit on how much time you have to make a decision on if you want the vaccine or not and will rush you to say yes. Then once you give them your personal and financial information, they hang up on you then steal your money and information.
Pop-Up Advertising on COVID Vaccines
Scammers create pop-up ads advertising the vaccine and take advantage of the fact that it’s out for most people. People click on the link to get the vaccine and are taken to a form to fill out. Once they give out their personal and financial information on the online forms, the scammers use this information to steal victims’ identities and money. These websites could also give you malware without you knowing and steal even more of your information.
Appointment Sales Scams
Scammers will call you or email you pretending to be your doctor, and ask if you would like to purchase an appointment slot to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. You agree to purchase the vaccine, convinced since your doctor states you will gain full immunity from the coronavirus if you get this vaccine. You hand over your personal and financial information to the scammer thinking that you’re making an appointment to get the vaccine. However, scammers steal this information and block you as they steal your identity and drain your bank account.
How to Avoid COVID-19 Vaccine Scams
- Don’t give anyone your personal information.
- Don’t give anyone your financial information.
- Only believe legit well-known news sources when it comes to the vaccine.
- Check the URL before accessing the site to make sure it’s actually the website you want to access.
- Don’t click on any links that were sent to you via messaging or email.
- Don’t click on any pop-up advertising, and instead research how to get the vaccine only on official news websites.
- Go on the CDC and WHO’s official websites for more legit information on the COVID vaccines.
- Don’t purchase the vaccine from anyone, it should be offered to you for free at any local pharmacy or doctor’s office.
- Only pharmacies and your doctor should have the vaccine, any website or store claiming to sell it is trying to scam you.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You with COVID-19 Vaccine Scams!
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with if you think you’ve been a victim of COVID vaccine scams.