We’re all anxious to come out on the other side of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The availability of vaccines brings us closer to that goal. Sadly, there are people trying to take advantage of our hopes by offering fake or unauthorized vaccinations. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself and your loved ones against COVID-19 vaccine scams.
You shouldn’t pay a thing
Some fraudsters claim you can jump to the head of the vaccination line or join a waiting list by leaving a deposit or paying a small fee. Know that any FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine will be available free of charge. You may be asked to provide insurance information, but you will not be billed. Never give out financial or banking information and report the fraud right away.
You can’t buy the vaccine
People cannot order FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines by mail. They are only being given to approved locations like vaccination clinics, pharmacies, and medical offices. Anything available to order is not an official vaccine and could be harmful. If you receive a substance in the mail, call your local police department to ask how they want to handle the situation.
Don’t give information to someone you don’t know
You may get a phone call, text, or email from someone claiming to represent a medical office, vaccination site, or insurance company. You may even come across an ad or posting on social media. They may ask for personal information, saying it’s to check your eligibility status. Ask what organization they represent and say you will call them back. Then, research that company and call their official phone number to see if they were telling the truth. Don’t click unfamiliar links and never give out your personal information unless you’re sure they are who they claim to be.
Note: You can report a possible fraud or scam by contacting our Special Investigations Unit (SIU) hotline at 888-4KO-FRAUD (888-456-3728) or sending an email to email@example.com.
Help yourself and others by reporting suspected COVID-19 fraud. Use one of these options to file a report:
· HHS-OIG Hotline: 1-800-HHS-TIPS, tips.hhs.gov
· FBI Hotline: 1-800-CALL-FBI, ic3.gov
· Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS)/Medicare Hotline: 1-800-MEDICARE
· Special Investigations Unit Anti-Fraud Hotline toll-free at 1-888-4KO-FRAUD