What do I need to know to avoid COVID-19 vaccine scams?

Local vaccine providers are working to make sure you receive your vaccine and will be patient in this process. A scammer may not be! Local vaccine providers are reaching out to patients in multiple ways. This includes by mail, phone, text, email, or messaging such as MyChart to offer appointments. 

Vaccine providers will:   

  • verify your age and date of birth
  • ask for your Medicare number, if applicable
  • ask for insurance information
  • NEVER ask for your credit card number or bank information. (*Vaccinations are free. If you receive an offer to sell you one, it is not legitimate).  
  • NEVER ask you for your immigration status.

It is possible a vaccine provider will need to verify your social security number, leave a message, or send an email asking you to contact them. 

 Avoiding Scams: Dos 

  • Do consult with your provider or Linn County Public Health to learn up-to-date vaccine distribution channels and only receive information from valid sources like the CDC and FDA. 
  • Do be cautious when clicking links you receive in text messages or email messages. 
  • Do hang up the phone if you are suspicious the person on the other end is facilitating a scam. 
  • Do hang up immediately if you receive a request to take a survey and it asks for personal information.
  • Do contact your local law enforcement agency and your County Health Department if you feel you are the victim of a scam related to COVID-19 vaccinations.  
  • Do be aware of active scams. The FBI has warned the public to be aware of activities that indicate fraudulent activity. Learn more.
  • There have been reports of attempts to sell an appointment or an expedited placement to receive a vaccination. 
  • There have been reports of individuals being called to schedule appointments for their vaccination. While physician’s offices do call their patients to schedule these appointments, they do not regularly ask for personal information such as Social Security numbers or payment information, such as credit card numbers. *If one doubts that these calls are genuine, hang up and call your physician’s office to confirm the appointment.  
  • Some individuals have attempted to sell vaccine vials or individual shots. These persons are not reputable, and you should never buy anything from an offer like this. Any shot you receive under these circumstances is highly suspect.  
  • There have been efforts by individuals to sell vaccination cards to people who are not yet vaccinated or who are vaccine-hesitant. If you receive a call like this, it is a hoax.
  • There have been reports of individuals receiving calls asking them to participate in a survey related to their COVID-19 vaccination experience, with requests for personal information such as Social Security numbers. Legitimate surveyors will never ask for personal identifiers, such as Social Security numbers.    

Avoiding Scams: Don’ts    

  • Don’t share personal or financial information if someone solicits you via phone, text, email, social media, or comes to your door promising access to the vaccine for a fee. You can’t pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine or pay to get early access to a vaccine.
  • Don’t open an email attachment if you are not sure what it is. 
  • Don’t accept a vaccination from an organization or individual who is not part of a legitimate vaccination program. (*Consult the Health Department in the county where you live to verify the legitimacy of any vaccine provider.) 

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1. What do I need to know to avoid COVID-19 vaccine scams?