FBI warns about ongoing COVID vaccine scams

The FBI continues to warn about scam artists who are using interest in the COVID-19 vaccines to take advantage of people.

According to the agency, several schemes are operating, but the strong demand for vaccines that are in scarce supply is providing the basis for most of them.

People should be wary of unsolicited phone calls, texts, social media posts, and door-to-door visitors that offer the vaccine or access to it in exchange for money.

Some scammers use vaccine access as a ruse to get victims’ personal information like Social Security numbers and bank account details instead of cash, according to the bureau.

Other schemes involve offers of waitlist priority, medical testing, and even offers to ship the vaccine in exchange for a fee or deposit.

The FBI encourages people to use local government and state health department websites for vaccine information and scheduling procedures.

“Don’t share your personal or health information with anyone other than known and trusted medical professionals,” the agency said in a press release. “Do not communicate with or open emails, attachments, or links from unknown individuals. Never provide personal information of any sort via email.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago issued a similar warning about COVID scams in December.

“Unfortunately, ruthless criminals are attempting to take advantage of unsuspecting people anxious to receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” John Lausch Jr, the outgoing U.S. Attorney in Chicago said at the time. “Any unsolicited offer to gain an advantage in connection with a COVID-19 vaccine is likely a scam.”

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