When a huge effort is going on to vaccinate more senior citizens and others against COVID-19, on the other hand, a huge number of scammers are hiding to exploit the situation by finding cheap marketing strategies to cheat the public and earn money from it. The latest warnings from the consumer sector state that the public should be careful about the next text or robocall that asks to pay money upfront to get on the list and receive the vaccine as soon as possible. And the warnings are also given about numerous links and text messages that arrive out of blue to cheat the public, it is strongly recommended not to click and enter or respond to any of the links in a similar category.
Scammers Are Taking Opportunities To Exploit The Vaccination Process.
The federal communications commission has alerted that “Anyone who asks for a payment to put you on a list, make an appointment for you, or reserve a spot in line is a scammer.” Supporting this statement Eduard Bartholme, an associate chief at the FCC Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau stated that “Early coronavirus scams focused on selling fake testing products and supplies, and those who scams are continuing. He also said that still there is growing concern that more consumers will soon hear from con artists who impersonating an insurance company or health department as part of the vaccination effort.
COVID-19 related scams have been reported in Michigan, Florida, and other states, according to federal regulators. Earlier this week, Authority in Michigan county reported that two consumers complained that they were called by someone impersonating a public health worker who reportedly was trying to schedule an appointment. And following this, the scammers asked for financial information and personal information that could later be used in ID theft schemes. People who suspect a scam are told to call the non-emergency phone number for your local police.
The govt officials have already made a statement that they have not appointed anyone to ask for your credit card information, a social security number, or bank account information to get an appointment for a vaccine. It is also noted that scam call plays up the notion that you need to verify personal and insurance information to book an appointment which is not all necessary in any worst-case scenario.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has explained a brief clue note to identify the scam which includes key information’s like the caller will likely say they are associated with the “local health department” or your “insurance provider.” They’re often not naming your specific county or even your state. And they may not even rattle off the name of your specific insurance provider. No one is going to be calling you from the Social Security Administration either, to sign you up for a time for receiving your vaccine. What the scammers try to do is catch you off guard into thinking the call could be real. All the news about the high demand for shots and short supplies of the vaccine could present another opening for scammers, too. They realize that some people are flustered after many repeated attempts to book an appointment for a shot.
Lisa Schifferle, senior policy analyst for Office of Older warned that “Don’t pay for promises of early access. That is a scam,”
Bartholme said in a webinar presentation. “Ignore sales ads for the COVID-19 vaccine. You can’t buy it anywhere.” They made this statement related to another similar scam of numerous advertisements that popped up on social media platforms claims that the public can purchase the Covid-19 vaccine online. Bartholme also said that you cannot buy the vaccine online. Fake websites have been impersonating drug makers, as well as government agencies. The vaccine is only available at federal and state-approved locations, such as vaccination centers and pharmacies.
Similarly, another interesting scam reported is Con artists are also pretending as contact tracers, the people who work for state health departments to try to track anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19. The Federal Trade Commission warns that scammers may address as contact tracers so they can profit off the current confusion. The scammers are out to steal your identity, your money, and in worst cases both.
The Federal Trade Commission said the real contact tracers are not supposed to ask for money, credit card information, and not even Social Security numbers or bank account information. And you do not need to answer questions about your immigration status either this scammer may also target immigrants who might be in huge confusion in a situation like this.
The method of online frauds is slightly different in that they might ask you details of your online banks such as PayPal also you may need to provide ID or insurance information at the vaccine site, consumer advocates say, you should not hand over that information in advance to someone who calls you out of the blue.
Also, all the consumers are advised to check with their state or local health department to learn when and how to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Plans vary across the country and might be delay due to various reasons, so you need to keep up to date.
Experts have provided some tips include letting a phone call go to voicemail if you do not recognize a phone number. Consumer advocates say scammers rarely leave messages. It is also advised you can hang up the phone call as soon as you felt it a fraud or scam no need to move further.