Bottom Line: Beware of COVID-19 vaccine scams

Bottom Line: Avoiding COVID-19 vaccine scams

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Waiting to get a COVID-19 vaccine can be frustrating. The same goes for navigating the online or telephone registration process in many areas. So it’s not surprising that scammers are now preying on people anxious to get a vaccine. Consumer Reports explains ways to spot the scams and has tips to protect yourself from falling victim.

In January authorities shut down a website that had a name similar to the vaccine maker Moderna, and its creators were later arrested after allegedly trying to sell vaccines for $30 per dose. This is not an isolated incident.

Scammers are feeding off the frenzy of people trying to get a vaccine by offering fake promises of early access to shots and targeting people by social media posts, emails, texts, online ads, and robocalls.

And since we’re still months away from every adult having access to the vaccine, it doesn’t appear vaccine fraud will disappear anytime soon.

So to protect yourself from a vaccine scam, first and foremost learn how to spot one. Consumer Reports says take a hard pass if you’re asked for money.

If anyone is asking you to pay to either book an appointment or to get the actual vaccine, it’s a scam. Getting the shot is free; you can’t buy it anywhere. So ignore any emails or pop-up ads charging a fee.

If you’ve already paid for a vaccine using a credit card, dispute it with your credit card company. But if you used a payment app such as Venmo or Zelle, you’re unlikely to get your money back because they don’t offer the same protections as a credit card.

And never ever reveal any of your personal financial information. No legitimate place is going to ask you for your Social Security number or credit card or bank account information in order for you to get the vaccine. If you do get a call, email, or text asking for this information, ignore it!

Consumer Reports also wants to remind you that while it can take some time, one way to find out how to get a vaccine where you live is to check with your state’s health department.

“Consumer Reports TV News” is published by Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization that does not accept advertising and does not have any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site

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