With distribution of COVID-19 vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration underway, scammers are trying to capitalize on the rollout. Vaccination plans will vary across state and local governments. Check with your state or local health department to learn when and how to get the COVID-19 vaccine. You can also talk with your health care provider, pharmacist, or health insurance provider to learn more.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is sharing these tips to avoid vaccine related-scams:
- Don't pay to sign up for the vaccine. Anyone who asks for a payment to put you on a list, make an appointment for you, or reserve a spot in line is a scammer.
- Ignore sales ads for the COVID-19 vaccine. You can't buy it – anywhere, including online pharmacies. The vaccine is only available at federal- and state-approved locations, such as vaccination centers and pharmacies.
- Watch for unexpected or unusual texts. Don't click on links in text messages – especially messages you didn't expect. If your health care provider or pharmacist has used text messages to contact you in the past, you might get a text from them about the vaccine. If you get a text, call your health care provider or pharmacist directly to make sure they sent the text. Scammers are texting, too.
- Don't open emails, attachments, or links from people you don't know, or that come unexpectedly. You could download dangerous malware onto your computer or phone.
- Don't share your personal, financial, or health information with people you don't know. No one from a vaccine distribution site, health care provider's office, pharmacy, health insurance company or Medicare, will call, text, or email you asking for your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number to sign you up to get the vaccine.
In short, you can't pay to skip the line, reserve your spot, or join a critical trial. Be wary of any inbound calls or texts that ask for your Social Security number, financial details, or insurance information to reserve your spot.
Report COVID-19 vaccine scams to the FTC online, reportfraud.ftc.gov.
FCC Consumer Information
The FCC COVID-19 Consumer Guide has information about coronavirus scams and how you can avoid becoming a victim, along with helpful tips on cell phone hygiene and optimizing your home wireless network, and more.