COLUMBUS, OH (WOWK) — As the COVID-19 vaccine is distributed this week, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is cautioning Ohioans to look out for COVID-19 vaccine-related scams.
Yost warns a potential COVID-19 vaccine scam includes someone impersonating distributors, providers or local health departments claiming to need personal information such as a Social Security number to get on a list to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Scammers could also pretend to be able to help consumers get the vaccine sooner but ask for advance payment for a place in line. Email, phone calls, postal mail, text messages and socials media accounts are some ways scammers will try to reach potential victims.
Another scam could include purchasing fake COVID-19 cards to bypass any public health orders or to gain entry into restaurants, bars, or other public areas, or to bypass other public health orders, Yost says. These cards are reminders for people who receive the first dose of the vaccine to get the second dose of the vaccine. The governor says purchasing these cards is useless and is a scam to avoid.
Yost recommends several tips to help avoid COVID-19 and vaccines-related scams such as:
- Verify any information related to the COVID-19 vaccine with legitimate news reports. Always double-check any new “too-good-to-be-true” news or claims.
- Look for some of the red flags of a scam, such as being asked to wire money or send a prepaid money card or gift card to a stranger; being pressured to act immediately, or being told to buy a product or service where the company refuses to provide any information in writing. Look out if you’re asked to keep conversations a secret.
- You likely will not need to pay anything out of pocket to get the vaccine during this public health emergency. You can’t pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine. You can’t pay to get early access to the vaccine.
- No one from a vaccine distribution site or health care payer, like a private insurance company, will call you asking for your Social Security number or your credit card or bank account information to sign you up to get the vaccine.
Anyone who suspects an unfair business practice or wants to report a consumer problem should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office on their website or by calling (800)-282-0515.