As COVID vaccines roll out, so do the scams

The FBI and partners are warning the public about several emerging fraud schemes related to COVID-19 vaccines.

Scam graphic
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

As frontline healthcare workers and those in congregate and long-term care facilities begin receiving their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, scammers are busy targeting those anxiously awaiting their turn.

The FBI, Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have received complaints of scammers using the public’s interest in COVID-19 vaccines to obtain personally identifiable information and money through various schemes.

To avoid falling prey to one of those scams, the three agencies say there are eight indicators of fraudulent activity. They include:

  • Advertisements or offers for early access to a vaccine upon payment of a deposit or fee.
  • Requests asking you to pay to obtain the vaccine or to put your name on a COVID-19 vaccine waiting list.
  • Offers to undergo additional medical testing or procedures when obtaining a vaccine.
  • Marketers offering to sell and/or ship doses of a vaccine, domestically or internationally, in exchange for payment of a deposit or fee.
  • Unsolicited emails, telephone calls, or personal contact from someone claiming to be from a medical office, insurance company, or COVID-19 vaccine center requesting personal and/or medical information to determine your eligibility to participate in clinical vaccine trials or obtain the vaccine.
  • Claims of FDA approval for a vaccine that cannot be verified.
  • Advertisements for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online, or from unsolicited/unknown sources.
  • Individuals contacting you in person, by phone, or by email to tell you the government or government officials require you to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

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How do you avoid a scam?


  • Consult your state’s health department website for up-to-date information about authorized vaccine distribution channels and only obtaining a vaccine through such channels.
  • Check the FDA’s website ( for current information about vaccine emergency use authorizations.
  • Consult your primary care physician before getting any vaccination.
  • Don’t share your personal or health information with anyone other than known and trusted medical professionals.
  • Check your medical bills and insurance explanation of benefits (EOBs) for any suspicious claims and promptly report any errors to your health insurance provider.
  • Follow guidance and recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other trusted medical professionals.

If you believe you have been the victim of a COVID-19 fraud, report it to the FBI (,, or 1-800-CALL-FBI) or HHS OIG ( or 1-800-HHS-TIPS).

Vaccine Scams 2020 by inforumdocs on Scribd

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