Warning to avoid vaccine scam

News

PAXTON, Ill. (WCIA)—“We get people calling in scams almost everyday, and most of them are just reporting it. They haven’t been made victim of it,” said Ford County Sheriff Mark Doran. Law enforcement and health officials say they want to keep it that way. The Ford County Health Department is warning people about a COVID-19 vaccine scam.

“A scammer might call or send a text message to older adults offering a COVID test kit in an attempt to get a credit card or their banking information, or they may ask to verify your social security number or your Medicare ID. That’s how they go in and get someone’s personal information, or they ask for their home address to drop off this so called test kit,” said Megan Reutter, Community Health Educator with the Ford County Public Health Department.

The Ford County Sheriff says those are signs you should avoid. “Hopefully, you don’t give these people any information. Don’t give them any money. Don’t transfer money or buy gift cards. Just hang up,” said Doran.

Some other potential signs of scams include being asked to put your name on a vaccine waiting list or to get early access. Other examples include advertisements for vaccines through social media, emails, telephone calls, or unknown sources, and marketers offering to sell or ship the vaccine for payment.

“A big red flag for people to be looking at is we’re not going to be asking you for your social security number. We’re not going to be asking you for your banking information because the vaccine is free,” said Reutter. Once it’s your turn to be vaccinated, the Ford County Health Department will notify the community using several methods including social media, their website, and radio. “I think a lot of elderly people are concerned about when it’s going to be their turn because they want to make sure they’re not going to get left behind,” said Reutter.

The health department is reminding people to be patient. “Once we finish all those frontline workers, then the elderly 65 and older will be contacted to say yes they are eligible to come in and get the vaccine,” said Reutter.

People who think they have been the victim of COVID-19 fraud should report it.

HHS-OIG HOTLINE: 1-800-HHS-TIPS
FBI HOTLINE: 1-800-CALL-FBI
CMS/MEDICARE HOTLINE: 1-800-MEDICARE

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