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Watch out for covid-19 vaccine related scams

Vaccination for Covid-19-1215279_640Government officials are predicting covid-19 vaccines will be available by the end of the year. However, plans for distribution are still being developed.

Two vaccine manufacturers, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, have submitted applications to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA could complete its review by the third or fourth week of December 2020.

Additional vaccine manufacturers are expected to apply for FDA authorization in 2021.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an independent group convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has recommended that health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities should receive the first available doses.

As additional data is available, more vaccines are authorized by the FDA, and vaccine production increases, ACIP will continue to update its recommendations.

After the FDA authorizes one or more vaccines from pharmaceutical manufacturers, vaccines will be distributed to federal- and state-approved locations.

States will make the final decisions on who will get the vaccines and when. States are also working on vaccination plans. Check with your state for information.

As the nation waits for a vaccine, scammers will likely be scheming.

Here’s what you need to know to avoid a vaccine-related scam, advises Colleen Tressler, consumer education specialist for the Federal Trade Commission's Division of Consumer and Business Education:

  • You likely will not need to pay anything out of pocket to get the vaccine during this public health emergency.
  • You can’t pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine.
  • You can’t pay to get early access to the vaccine.
  • No one from a vaccine distribution site or health care payer, such as a private insurance company, will call you asking for your Social Security number or your credit card or bank account information to sign you up to get the vaccine.
  • Beware of providers offering other products, treatments, or medicines to prevent the virus. Check with your health care provider before paying for or receiving any COVID-19-related treatment.

If you get a call, text, or email – or someone knocking on your door – claiming you can get early access to the vaccine, stop. It’s a scam.

Don’t pay for a promise of vaccine access or share personal information. Instead, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov or file a complaint with your state attorney general through consumerresources.org, the consumer website of the National Association of Attorneys General.

Comments

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Jennifer

Such important reminders, especially the one about never giving out your social security number or banking account numbers to anyone who calls you.

Carol Cassara

I can't even believe this happens, but I do believe it. Just crazy. Thanks for this. Tweeting it.

Meryl

It always amazes me how so many people buy into the scam. Meanwhile...I am ready for my shot.

Laurie Stone

Good warning, Rita. Thank you!

Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski

It's awful to think anyone would take advantage of this situation but it always happens. Great tips.

Rita

Scammers are always out there. They look at the news and create new scams and put them into practice. And they use the old scams, such as the grandparent scam which fools thousands of people, to make millions.

What they're doing now is asking people to buy gift cards to pay for whatever they've tricked the person into "buying." Then, they stay on the phone while the victim buys lots of gift cards. They have the victim read the card numbers to them.

The FTC even has a campaign now to alert consumers to this tactic; it has placed signs in stores where gift cards are sold saying "Gift cards are for gifts, not to pay someone." It also is working with retail stores that sell gift cards and places that transfer money such as Western Union to alert them to the problem.

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