Don't be so Desperate to be Vaccinated; Here's Why
By Erika Dee
Scammers have no qualms when they strike. Even if the world is plunged into a pandemic, they do not hesitate to scam even those most vulnerable and already struggling.
In Michigan, scammers are targeting those already desperate to be vaccinated and using their desire to get not just their money, but also personal and sensitive information.
Scammers Take Advantage of Vaccination Desperation
According to the State Attorney General's Office in Michigan. it received a report wherein a fraudster is trying to get money in exchange for the highly coveted COVID-19 vaccine. Even though the problem is not yet widespread, it is alarming nonetheless.
Getting the report however made the office a bit hopeful that no matter how desperate people become for the vaccine, they would not easily be scammed off their money. "I hope that can be seen as a good sign that people are contacting the proper sources for the vaccine and being cautious about who they provide their personal information to," Ryan Jarvi, a spokesperson for Attorney General Dana Nessel said.
At present, those who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines right now in Michigan are the so-called frontliners, including the health care workers, residents and employees of long-term care facilities.
At the same time, people ages 65 and older, teachers, child care workers, first-responders, law enforcement and corrections officers are also eligible to vaccinated.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, anyone saying they can give a vaccine shot even if to non-eligible individuals are scammers.
"Anybody offering a chance to jump ahead on the statewide priority list for a vaccination in exchange for money is a scammer, the Federal Trade Commission warns. "You can't pay to get your name on a list to get the vaccine," the agency added in its a consumer blog post.
How to Know if You are Being Scammed?
The FTC reiterates that the whole thing is a scam. "That's a scam. You can't pay to get early access to the vaccine. That's a scam. Nobody legit will call about the vaccine and ask for your Social Security, bank account or credit card number. That's a scam."
As the vaccine nears a national roll-out, more COVID-19 vaccination scams have emerged. According to ITV, some scams are conducted through emails.
There were reports of phishing emails sent out by the NHS, claiming the recipient as eligible for vaccination and asking them to fill out forms. By providing their information, the victim ends up providing private information to people who can use them for their interests.
Following these reports, the NHS released a public advisory to help people know whent they are being scammed. The agency stated that in case vaccinations are truly going to be rolled out, it must be noted that they are free. Anyone asking for money is likely to be a scammer.
It will also never ask for private information or financial details. These are red flags.