State Attorney General Ashley Moody issued a Consumer Alert this week warning Floridians about COVID-19 vaccine scams that involve misleading webpages charging for vaccine appointments.
According to recent news reports, scammers used the popular event website Eventbrite to pose as county health departments and take or attempt to take payments in exchange for COVID-19 vaccine appointments.
“Consumer Protection investigators and criminal prosecutors in my office are aggressively pursuing reports of scammers taking money in exchange for phony COVID-19 vaccine reservations. If you have been a victim of this scam, please contact my office so we can end this fraud and help protect those seeking vaccinations,” Moody said.
States are overseeing the free COVID-19 vaccine distribution rather than the federal government. To help manage appointment scheduling, several counties in Florida have turned to ticketing services like Eventbrite; however, no county is charging for vaccine reservations.
Moody recommends the following tips to help Floridians avoid COVID-19 vaccine-related scams:
- Know that anyone asking for money in exchange for an appointment is a scam;
- Check with county health departments for local vaccine distribution guidelines;
- Be wary of any website where pop-up ads solicit a vaccine appointment;
- Look for “https” or a padlock icon in the website name to ensure that you are on a secure website; and
- Report suspicious solicitations or COVID-19 vaccine-related advertisements to the Attorney General’s Office by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.