RAPID CITY, S.D. — The efforts to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine will also be an opportunity for some to try and take advantage. Officials are already ramping up efforts to prevent the sale of fake vaccines. Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
“These robocalls are getting so bad, the government impostors, we’re advising consumers not to answer their phones, ” said Steve Bernas, President and CEO at the Better Business Bureau of Chicago.
As the first FDA approved coronavirus vaccine rolls out across the US, the Better Business Bureau has issued a warning: be wary of COVID-19 vaccine cons.
“We want consumers to be forewarned, become educated,” Bernas said.
Already, there are reports of scam calls offering a chance to receive an early dose of the Pfizer vaccine for $80, and officials are cracking down.
The FDA sent out warning letters to firms selling fraudulent products with claims to prevent, treat, or even cure coronavirus.
“This is my 33rd year at the BBB and it’s probably the worst types of scams I’ve seen. These scammers are heartless and relentless in trying to separate you from your money,” Bernas added.
There are red flags and ways to spot a likely con: do your research, don’t respond to unsolicited emails or calls about the vaccine, and ignore calls for immediate action. If you want a vaccine early, ask your doctor about your eligibility, and don’t buy any vaccines or treatments online
“There is no ability to get to the front of the line. Particularly given when we have a highly limited resource that we want to prioritize for our healthcare heroes,” said Dr. Kiran Joshi, Cook County Illinois Department of Public Health.
The FDA is publishing its list of websites and firms that have received warning letters for fraudulent products here.