Coronavirus conspiracy theories and scams have become a part of the pandemic landscape, not only in the US but in many parts of the world. There is always an opportunist lurking somewhere to make a bad situation worse.
Continue reading to find out what scammers are up to and what you can do to keep safe.
5. Vaccine List Scam
The emails, texts or phone calls asking if you want your name to be added to a list are scams. You will never have to pay to get on any waiting list in your county or state. Although there is no master list, some public health officials allow people to register ahead of vaccination.
In Chicago, the Public Health Department set up a COVID App for people to leave their information with the CDPH, so as vaccines become widely available, they can be in the front row.
To avoid being a victim here, do not pay money to anyone to get on a waiting list. Register only with a legitimate public health organization. And be sure to make contact personally instead of answering a message.
4. The Jump the Line Scam
No American can jump the line to be ahead of others who registered first for the vaccine. There is no doubt that people would love to know where they are on the registration list.
Get this interactive tool that the New York Times has set up for this very purpose–to help people find their place on the list. Healthcare workers and nursing homes will receive the vaccine first, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). So, anyone offering to take you to the front of the line for a greased palm is a fraud and scammer.
Avoid this scam by keeping in touch with your local health authorities. They are the ones who will inform you when you can expect to get the vaccine. Be aware that scammers are clever and can use caller ID to make them seem like legitimate health organizations.
3. The Information Collection Scam
Be careful of those who want to steal your identity–your life! Beware of schemers sending you messages pretending to be from your insurance company or your health care organization. They claim to be making appointments for you to get the vaccine. And they are asking for your full name, address and social security number.
ID theft is prevalent, and why would anyone want your personal information on the phone or through email if they were up to any good? This type of scam can also lead to medical identity theft. This can leave you with an exorbitant medical bill that you know nothing about.
To avoid getting entangled in this scam, take nothing for granted. Research the company or anybody calling or texting you before giving out your information.
2. Vaccine Copay Scam
Watch out for scammers wanting money for a copay or any other vaccine-related expenses. There is no policy directing anyone to collect money for vaccines. The government is working to make the vaccine free to all Americans, so it’s free at private doctors, pharmacies or clinics.
To avoid this scam, investigate whether you need to pay for a vaccine and only pay at the point of vaccination, and be sure to get a receipt. The CDC says you may have to pay an administration fee, but taxpayers’ money pays for the vaccine, so it’s free.
1. Alternative Cure Scam
There are companies peddling scam treatment to people as they wait in uncertainty for the vaccine. Thankfully, these companies received COVID product warning letters from the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA).
A “virus bioshield” and “viral defense tincture” are two products the FDA is targeting. One promises to fight off and kill pathogens, like the coronavirus and was geared towards health caregivers working with COVID-19 patients.
To avoid the scam of a false cure, trust no source claiming to have a sure alternative. Examine all sources of information about the virus. Wait on your turn to be vaccinated and continue to follow the standard protocols, like social distancing, wearing your mask and washing your hands.
As You Wait for Your Vaccine…
The CDC released information concerning priority vaccination. These are health care corkers workers, care facility residence and staff. Essential and critical industries are next as more vaccines become available.
Those at risk due to critical, underlying illnesses and older adults will also be a top priority. For the healthier population, experts believe that vaccines will be available in about June of 2021. So stay scam-free and safe from the virus until your turn comes around.
Somebody is always trying to beat the system with dishonesty. In a pandemic crisis, the nation needs unity in helping each other. But there are people still pulling down each other–for a quick buck in exploitation.
There is scamming of various sorts out there. So, everyone, please continue to be vigilant as the time of naivety has passed. It’s important to arm yourself with the relevant information to combat scammers so you won’t fall victim to their schemes.