With coronavirus vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and nearing availability to the public, there are potential scammers who will try to capitalize on the rush.
To highlight the potential for vaccine-related fraud, the International Criminal Police Organization issued a global warning revealing that of 3,000 websites associated with online pharmacies suspected of selling illicit medicines and medical devices, more than half contained cyber threats, including phishing and spamming malware.
Everyone must remain on high alert. Scammers may try to exploit the sense of urgency surrounding the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to swindle those trying to protect their health.
Do not respond to solicitations about vaccines. Once a vaccine is approved and available to the public, availability will be announced by federal and state government agencies, with clear priority tiers and distribution guidelines.
Never send money or financial information to anyone offering a COVID-19 vaccine or claiming the ability to expedite the process. Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be provided at no cost; however, vaccination providers will be able to charge an administration fee. Vaccine providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.
See these FAQ’s about COVID-19 vaccination from the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention).
Report suspicious solicitations or COVID-19 vaccine-related advertisements to the Attorney General’s Office by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or to your local authorities.
International Criminal Police Organization
Florida Department of Insurance
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
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