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Avoid COVID-19 Vaccine Scams

Posted on January 25, 2021 | Fraud Defense

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are warning the public about several emerging fraud schemes related to COVID-19 vaccines.

They have received complaints of scammers using the public’s interest in COVID-19 vaccines to obtain personally identifiable information and money through various schemes.

As COVID-19 vaccine distribution begins, the FBI is alerting the public to beware of potential scams:

■ You are asked to pay out of pocket to get the vaccine.

■ You are asked to pay to put your name on a vaccine waiting list or to get early access.

■ Advertisements for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online, or from unsolicited/unknown sources.

■ Marketers offering to sell or ship doses of the vaccine for payment.

Protect Yourself. Do not give out your personal information to unknown sources.
If you believe you have been the victim of COVID-19 fraud, immediately report it to:

HHS-OIG Hotline: 1-800-HHS-TIPS

FBI Hotline: 1-800-CALL-FBI

CMS/Medicare Hotline: 1-800-MEDICARE

For accurate, up-to-date information about COVID-19, visit: https://www.fbi.gov/coronavirus

General online/cyber fraud prevention techniques:

• Verify the spelling of web addresses, websites, and email addresses that look trustworthy but may be imitations of legitimate websites.

• Ensure operating systems and applications are updated to the most current versions.

• Update anti-malware and anti-virus software and conduct regular network scans.

• Do not enable macros on documents downloaded from an email unless necessary and after ensuring the file is not malicious.

• Do not communicate with or open emails, attachments, or links from unknown individuals.

• Never provide personal information of any sort via email; be aware that many emails requesting your personal information may appear to be legitimate.

• Use strong two-factor authentication if possible, using biometrics, hardware tokens, or authentication apps.

• Disable or remove unneeded software applications.

DECU Fraud Defense