The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two COVID-19 vaccines for priority populations in late 2020, like healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities, so it’s only a matter of time before the general public can get them as well. A recent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) chart indicated the low-risk population may start getting vaccinated in May 2021. But because states will handle rollouts differently, it’s a good idea to monitor your state’s health department website for a more specific date.
News of this historic COVID-19 effort sparked a feeding frenzy in the scammer community. While we wait for our vaccinations, it’s important to know what to look out for.
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Watch out for COVID-19 vaccination scams
You are most likely dealing with a vaccine-related scam if someone asks you to:
- Pay anything out of pocket to get the vaccine during this public health emergency
- Give out your Social Security number, credit card, or bank account information to sign up to get the vaccine
- Buy non-FDA approved products, treatments, or medicines to prevent the virus
- Get vaccinated because the government or government officials require you to receive a COVID-19 vaccine
Scammers can reach you via phone, email, social media, or even show up at your door. No matter who they say they are, if they promise early access to the vaccine through payment or exchanging personal information, don’t engage with them. Instead, take some proactive measures to stop these tricksters in their tracks.
Don’t let someone else fall prey
If you suspect you’ve encountered a vaccine-related scam, report it to the FBI or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It takes just minutes to fill out the forms, and your answers will help numerous law enforcement investigations. You can also file a complaint with your state or territory attorney general throughthe consumer website of the National Association of Attorneys General.
Stay in the know
The best way to avoid getting scammed is to stay informed. And there are plenty of resources you can connect to:
- Sign up for consumer alerts from the FTC, and you’ll get updates delivered to your email inbox.
- Check your state or territory attorney general’s website for consumer alerts and other helpful information.
- Check the FDA’s website for current information about vaccine emergency use authorizations.
- Subscribe to the FBI’s emailing list (they recently issued a warning about COVID-19 vaccination scams).
- Follow guidance and recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other trusted medical professionals.
- Consult your state’s health department website for up-to-date information about authorized vaccine distribution channels.
Once you’ve found literature you can trust, be sure to secure the two things scammers want most: your money and personal identification details. Signing up for a heavily protected bank account is a good first step.
How MoneyLion protects you from fraud
Our $1/month RoarMoney℠ account includes multi-factor authentication, contactless payment, and robust protection against unauthorized purchases1 if your card is lost or stolen. Plus, you can lock your card instantly in the app anytime. And RoarMoney doesn’t just protect your cash; it also makes life a whole lot easier with direct deposits received up to two days early,2 no balance minimums and no fees at 55,000 ATMs3, and much more.
Take action today
Knowing what scams to look out for, keeping up with trusted and informative organizations, and securing your personal information is essential to staying ahead of swindlers. When you sign up for MoneyLion, you’ll have access to a suite of innovative banking services that use robust protective measures.