Ohio attorney general warns of COVID-19 vaccine scams

COVID-19 vaccine
Posted at 4:20 PM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 16:20:20-05

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has issued a warning against COVID-19 vaccine scams.

“A single dose of information can vaccinate you against fraud,” Yost said.

Yost said Ohioans could see scammers impersonate distributors, providers, or local health departments claiming to need information such as your Social Security number to get on a list to receive the vaccine.

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccine scams could expose personal information and leave you at risk for virus

"Other scammers could pretend to be able to help consumers jump to the front of the line to get a vaccine, but ask for advanced payment to secure their place in line. These communications could come through email, phone call, postal mail, text message, or even through social media accounts," Yost said.

According to Yost, scammers might try to sell reminders to get a second dose and pass them off as a way to gain entry into bars, restaurants, or other public areas to bypass health orders.

Within the first week of the COVID-19 lockdown in March, scammers started emailing, calling, and texting Ohioans trying to steal their identity or money, according to Yost.

RELATED: New coronavirus scams targeting Northeast Ohioans, one local man has warning after scammed out of $3,500

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office recommends the following tips to help you avoid potential virus and vaccine-related scams:

  • Verify any vaccine-related information. You can do this by contacting your family doctor, your local health department, or the statewide Ohio Department of Health’s COVID-19 call center at 1-833-427-5634 to check on issues you are unsure about.
  • 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.
  • 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 and 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.

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