12 Apr COVID-19 Vaccine Scam Alerts
The pandemic continues to rage throughout the U.S. and the world. Thankfully, we now have hope due to multiple vaccines. So, of course, bad guys are continuing to use our fear of COVID-19 and desire for a vaccine as lures for scams.
Be on the Lookout For:
Required Payments: You may see ads that promise you early access to the vaccine. These ads will require you to pay a deposit or upfront fee to receive the vaccine or be added to the waitlist. In truth, you will not have to pay an upfront deposit or fee to sign up for the vaccine. Only sign up for the vaccine through trusted sources, like your local government health services agency. Use the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website to find out how and when you can get vaccinated.
If you did give out financial information and later found out that it was a scam, visit FraudSupport.org for resources to help with reporting and recovery.
Fake Ads: Fake ads for vaccines are circulating via social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online, and from unsolicited/unknown sources. Local government health services agencies and healthcare providers dispensing vaccines share information on their legitimate websites and other communication channels. For more information about the vaccine program in your state, find your state’s health department by visiting www.USA.gov/state-health.
Did you see a fake COVID-19 vaccine ad on social media or a website? Click on the social media platform or website where you saw the fake ad to learn how to report it.
Attempts to Get Personal Information: You may receive unsolicited emails, telephone calls, or text messages from someone claiming to be from a medical office, insurance company, or COVID-19 vaccine center requesting your personal and/or medical information to determine if you’re eligible to get the vaccine.
If someone got hold of your personal or medical information, visit our Identity Theft resource pages for help.
Disinformation: You might read articles or see notifications that the government requires you to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or that the vaccine is causing significant health impacts. Remember, anyone can post opinions or conspiracy theories online. For accurate information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the CDC’s “Facts About the COVID-19 Scams” page.
- Bookmark this page (https://cybercrimesupport.org/covid-19-vaccine-scam-alerts/) and check back for updates
- Visit ScamSpotter.org to learn how to spot a scam using the three golden rules
- If you’ve experienced a vaccine scam, or any other type of scam, please visit FraudSupport.org for reporting and recovery resources
- Visit the CDC website for accurate information about the COVID-19 vaccines and to learn what you can do right now
- Visit the World Health Organization website for accurate information about COVID-19 and the vaccines.
- Find your state health department’s website for information about the coronavirus and the COVID-19 vaccines in your state
- Visit our COVID-19 Scams Alert blog for updates on other COVID-19 scams
- Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration
Latest News Updates
April 9, 2021 – Scammers are selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards online: Hundreds of fraudsters are selling blank or forged versions of the cards over ecommerce sites including eBay, Etsy and Shopify, while also running advertisements for the fakes on Facebook, according to Saoud Khalifah, CEO of Fakespot, which uses artificial intelligence to detect online retail scams. And with names such as blankcovidcard.com, such sellers are hardly discreet.
Read the full story from CBS News.
April 8, 2021 – Online Scammers Have a New Offer for You: Vaccine Cards: Hundreds of sellers are offering false and stolen vaccine cards, as businesses and states weigh proof of vaccinations for getting people back to work and play.
Read the full story from the New York Times.
April 2, 2021 – Michigan AG warns residents to watch out for COVID vaccine scams: With more people eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine in Michigan, vaccine scams are on the rise. There are reports of people giving out their personal information to scammers they thought represented local pharmacies or health departments.
Read the full story from Click On Detroit.
March 31, 2021 – Justice Department Warns About Fake Post-Vaccine Survey Scams: The Department of Justice has received reports that fraudsters are creating fraudulent COVID-19 vaccine surveys for consumers to fill out with the promise of a prize or cash at the conclusion of the survey. In reality, the surveys are used to steal money from consumers and unlawfully capture consumers’ personal information.
Read the full press release from The United States Department of Justice.
March 28, 2021 – You will never be asked to pay for a vaccine: Watch out for these vaccination scams looking to get your money, information: As if it wasn’t a stressful enough time – with tens of millions of Americans anxiously awaiting vaccination information to help protect themselves and their families from COVDI-19 – a new crop of scams are exploiting the process.
Read the full story from USA Today.
March 17, 2021 – Avoiding COVID vaccine scams: Bellin shares what to look for: The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says it’s seen an influx of scams related to COVID vaccine appointments. Scammers are pretending to be healthcare providers, using vaccine appointments as a way to obtain personal information.
Bellin Health team leader Diane Gaywont said, “Occasionally we do get that caller that calls in and says, ‘how do we really know it’s you calling us?'”
Read the full story from FOX 21 News.
March 11, 2021 – Why you don’t want to post a selfie with your vaccine card: The liberating, euphoric feeling of receiving your COVID-19 vaccine might be as thrilling as getting, say, that first driver’s license. It’s one of those first-steps, a milestone, on the road to being able to live life just a bit more freely. And many want to share this small victory on social media. But taking a selfie of you holding your vaccination card is a real no-no, according to consumer watchdogs.
Read the full story from the Detroit Free Press.
March 11, 2021 – Beware of COVID Vaccine Scams: One woman chatting on the Bumble dating app recently struck up a conversation with a seemingly nice guy that led to them swapping texts. “He told her that he was going to get the COVID vaccine. She expressed her interest, and he told her that she should pay him for it and he could get her a place in line,” said Amy Nofizger, director of victim support for the AARP Fraud Watch Network.
Read the full story from WebMD.
March 9, 2021 – Don’t Fall for a COVID-19 Vaccine Scam: COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more widely available but not fast enough to deter scammers from preying on people anxious to get their shots.
Read the full story from Consumer Reports.
Feb 28, 2021 – FOCUS: Swindlers take advantage of COVID fears to commit vaccine fraud: Attempts to defraud people of money over COVID-19 vaccinations have recently reported in Japan, with scammers taking advantage of the public’s fear of contracting the novel coronavirus and offering costly “priority reservations” even though jabs are free by law in the country.
Read the full story from Kyodo News.
Feb 23, 2021 – Covid-19 Vaccine Scams Grow, Leveraging Confusion About How to Get the Shot: Consumers researching ways to protect against the novel coronavirus might have stumbled upon what appeared to be a new website from Moderna Inc., announcing in capital letters, “You may be able to buy a Covid-19 vaccine ahead of time,” and offering doses for $30 each.
Full story from the Wall Street Journal.
Feb 18, 2021 – Vaccination scammers active in Skagit County: Individuals posing as “Skagit County representatives” are attempting to gather personal information by claiming to sign people for COVID-19 vaccination appointments, according to a news release from the county.
Read the full story from Go Skagit.
Feb 17, 2021 – EU says fighting growing cases of COVID vaccine fraud: The European Commission is taking action to curb growing cases of COVID-19 vaccine fraud and bring people responsible for it to justice, the president of the EU’s executive said on Wednesday.
Read the full story from Reuters.
Feb 16, 2021 – Forum, Feb. 17: Beware of vaccine scams: The FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, and the Center for Medicare and Medicare Services are warning the public of fraud schemes related to COVID-19 vaccines.
Read the full story from Valley News.
Feb 8, 2021 – COVID-19 Vaccine Scammers Proliferating on the ‘Dark Web’: Online COVID-19 vaccine scams are becoming more widespread, security experts warn. In the last six weeks, there has been a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 vaccine ads on the “dark web” — which connects unidentified buyers with anonymous sellers — and the asking prices have doubled or even quadrupled, Mark Ostowski, head of engineering for the cybersecurity company Check Point, told CBS News.
Read the full story from Health Day.
Feb 5, 2021 – Message To Seniors: Beware Of Scammers Offering COVID Vaccines Over The Phone: Many elderly people are anxious to get the COVID vaccine and unscrupulous scammers know this.
For nearly a year, 87-year-old Janice Gach and her 90-year old husband, Lou have been very careful. In fact, they barely leave their Weston home in fear of getting sick.
Read the full story from CBS Miami.
Feb 3, 2021 – Seniors warned of COVID-19 vaccine scams: Older adults and all of those on Medicare are vulnerable to scams seeking to get their insurance information or personally identifiable information, according to a statement from Senior Resources.
Read the full story from The Register Citizen.
Feb 1, 2021 – Scammers targeting seniors waiting for COVID-19 vaccine
Federal, state and local authorities are warning people to watch out for scammers promising quicker access to coronavirus or other benefits related to the pandemic.
Read the full story from Press Herald.
Feb 1, 2021 – How to avoid COVID-19 vaccine scams
Now that a COVID-19 vaccine has arrived, many of us are eagerly awaiting the day we get our first shot. However figuring out when you’re eligible, and where to get vaccinated once you are, is challenging. The rules and registration process vary between states, and sometimes counties, too. And vaccine supplies are limited, making appointments hard to get, Naturally, many people are feeling confused.
Read the full story from Telegraph Herald.
Jan 31, 2021 – Covid-19 vaccine scam prompts police warning
Police are urging the public to be on their guard over a scam text message offering the recipient the Covid-19 vaccination. The message contains a link, which redirects to a fake NHS page asking for bank details.
Read the full story from BBC News.
Jan 28, 2021 – Don’t fall for these COVID-19 vaccine scams
Officials in the Carolinas are warning people to watch out for COVID-19 vaccine scams. North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said the state is seeing more reports about vaccine-related scams now that the long-awaited vaccine is available.
Read the full story from WCNC.
Jan 26, 2021 – Beware fake Covid vaccination invites, NHS warns
The NHS has warned people to be vigilant about fake invitations to have the coronavirus vaccination, sent by scammers. The scam email includes a link to “register” for the vaccine, but no registration for the vaccination is required.
Read the full story from the BBC.
Jan 25, 2021 – Public warned over Covid-19 vaccine fraud scam
The public is being urged to be aware of several scams relating to Covid-19 vaccination, after a number of people received fraudulent calls and messages looking for personal details in recent days.
Read the full story from RTE.
Jan 25, 2021 – COVID-19 vaccine alert: Beware of these scams, online threats
A cybersecurity and compliance major has warned against online attacks that leverage news around the COVID-19 vaccine, such as vaccine sign-ups, government approvals of the vaccine, logistics of vaccine deployment and distribution of the vaccine to frontline responders and other individuals.
Read the full story from Gulf News.
Jan 24, 2021 – Be on the lookout for a text scam with COVID-19 twist
There’s a new text scam out there that plays on people’s concerns about COVID-19. It asks people to be a ‘store evaluator’ for $400. “Unfortunately, it’s really hard to trust anything anymore because it’s so easy for folks to send these spoof emails and spoof texts,” tech expert Dave Hatter said.
Read the full story from FOX 19 NOW.
Jan 23, 2021 – Phishing scams use the promise of COVID-19 vaccines to trick you
As we all hope for an end to the coronavirus pandemic, many people are understandably focused on the COVID-19 vaccine. Scammers know that. And while you’re dreaming about hugging loved ones, going to concerts or just feeling safe inside a grocery store, they’re busy crafting vaccine-related phishing campaigns to trick you into handing over personal information, money or access to your device.
Read the full story from CNET.
Jan 14, 2021 – Florida bill would criminalize vaccine scams
Floridians, especially seniors, are one step closer to being protected from scams related to the COVID-19 vaccine. The first bill approved by a newly created legislative committee on the pandemic would make it a felony for someone to fraudulently charge someone for offering to put them at the front of the vaccine line.
Read the full story from News4Jax.
Jan 14, 2021 – How to avoid coronavirus vaccine scams over the phone
Coronavirus vaccines have started to roll out throughout the world, causing people to consider their options for when and how to receive a vaccine. The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be on the lookout against fraudsters peddling phony treatments, phishing schemes and other attempts for people to steal your money or personal information.
Read the full story from ABC17 News.
Jan 14, 2021 – Six Ways to Identify a Possible COVID-19 Vaccine Scam
A lot of Connecticut residents want a COVID-19 vaccine and scam artists know it. State officials are now warning of possible vaccine-related scams and how to identify them.
Read the full blog from Hartford HealthCare.
Jan 12, 2021 – COVID-19 Vaccine Scams a ‘Growing Problem’ Amid Slow, Chaotic Rollout
When it comes to vaccine scams, federal and state officials have seen it all. And during what has been a confused rollout of the sought-after shots, a top official at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) warns that more scams are ahead.
Read the full story from AARP.
Jan 11, 2021 – How veterans in West Texas can avoid COVID-19 vaccine scams
The VA said veterans should be hesitant of any person offering a COVID-19 vaccine in exchange for a full social security number, personal information or banking information.
Read the full story from NewsWest9.
Jan 10, 2021 – Federal Officials Warn About COVID-19 Vaccine Scams in Wisconsin
Federal officials are warning Wisconsin residents about the possibility of online and phone scams that convince people they’re participating in COVID-19 vaccines.
Read the full story from WAOW.
Jan 5, 2021 – A COVID-19 shot for $150? Online scams surge as slow vaccine rollout frustrates
As millions of people await their turn to get a COVID-19 vaccine that could be months away, scammers online, in emails and on messaging apps are luring victims with claims they can deliver shots within days for as little as $150.
Read the full story from Reuters.
Dec 28, 2020 – FinCEN Asks Financial Institutions to Stay Alert to COVID-19 Vaccine-Related Scams and Cyberattacks
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is issuing this Notice to alert financial institutions about the potential for fraud, ransomware attacks, or similar types of criminal activity related to COVID-19 vaccines and their distribution.
Read the full notice from FinCEN.
Dec 22, 2020 – Homeland Security on alert for COVID vaccine scams: Here are red flags to watch for
It’s been a busy time for Homeland Security as they work to stop foreign agents, as well as local scammers, from targeting victims with a COVID-19 vaccine scam.
Read the full story from WDIV Click On Detroit.
Dec 22, 2020 – Tips to avoid COVID-19 vaccine scams
Federal officials are issuing warning signs on how to avoid COVID-19 vaccine scams.
Read the full story from News 4 Nashville.
Dec 21, 2020 – Federal Agencies Warn of Emerging Fraud Schemes Related to COVID-19 Vaccines
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are warning the public about several emerging fraud schemes related to COVID-19 vaccines. The FBI, HHS-OIG, and CMS have received complaints of scammers using the public’s interest in COVID-19 vaccines to obtain personally identifiable information (PII) and money through various schemes.
Read the full press release from the FBI.
Dec 18, 2020 – Coronavirus Vaccine Unleashes Crimes and Counterfeits
Unscrupulous criminals hungry for cash are calling and texting to steal from consumers by purporting they can get them an early vaccine, says Lev J. Kubiak, vice president and chief security officer for New York City-based Pfizer.
Read the full story from AARP.
Dec 16, 2020 – Will COVID-19 vaccine scams target L.A. residents next?
Amid the joyous arrival of the coronavirus vaccine — lauded as the beginning of the end of the deadly pandemic — lurks a sinister undercurrent. Fraudsters peddling the promise of a dose have arrived in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. And Los Angeles city officials are concerned residents here could be the next target.
Read the full story from the Los Angeles Times.
Dec 15, 2020 – First came news of a vaccine. Now come the scams.
The newly-approved Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is slowly making its way across the US. But those eagerly waiting their turn need to beware of dangerous scams and misinformation about the vaccine’s distribution.
Read the full story from CNN.