Covid-19 vaccines are FREE. There is no out-of-pocket cost to get the shots. Because scammers will find ways to cheat people out of their money and personal information, the Federal Trade Commission recently published some tips to avoid vaccine-related scams:
- Ignore online ads, social media posts, or phone calls from people offering to sell you the COVID-19 vaccine. You can’t buy it — anywhere. The vaccine is only available at federal- and state-approved locations.
- Don’t pay to sign up for the vaccine. 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.
- Don’t pay out of pocket for a vaccine — not before, during, or after your appointment. That’s either a scam or a mistake.
- Never share your personal, financial, or health information with people you don’t know. No one from a vaccine distribution site, health care provider’s office, pharmacy, or health care payer, such as a private insurance company or Medicare, will call, text, or email you asking for your credit card or bank account number to sign you up to get the vaccine.
- Contact a trusted source for information. Check with state or local health departments to learn when and how to get the COVID-19 vaccine. You can also talk with your health care provider or pharmacist.
- Do not post your vaccination card to your social media account. Your vaccination card has information on it including your full name, date of birth, where you got your vaccine, and the dates you got it. When you post it to Facebook, Instagram, or to some other social media platform, you may be handing valuable information over to someone who could use it for identity theft.
If you suspect that you’ve been scammed, the U.S. Office of Inspector General advises you to contact them and report it at: https://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/report-fraud/.You can also report COVID-19-related fraud to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
If you believe that you are a victim of identity theft, call Lardiere McNair DiNicola & Stonebrook, Ltd., to set up a consultation.