On Monday, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis warned consumers to beware of COVID-19 vaccination scams.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), consumers may notice an increase in suspicious texts or emails claiming to have information about the vaccine in exchange for personal information.
“As the state works to prioritize COVID-19 vaccination for our seniors, it’s despicable that scam artists would prey on our most vulnerable populations. Right now, fraudsters are working overtime to take advantage of consumers in attempt to steal your personal information. When it comes to scams, the best defense is a good offense and I encourage all Floridians to educate yourself on the warning signs of fraudulent activity. Be sure to always stay on guard and monitor your financial accounts for signs of ID theft or fraud. If you believe you have been the victim of COVID-19 fraud, report it immediately at FraudFreeFlorida.com,” Patronis said.
Patronis shared BBB’s “Tips to Avoid Coronavirus Scams” which were as follows:
- Research carefully: Scammers are very creative, so be skeptical of anything that seems too good – or crazy – to be true. Double check any information about the vaccine with official news sources. And be aware that none of the vaccines can be currently purchased online or in stores.
- Check with your doctor: If you want a vaccine early, reach out to your healthcare provider about your options. If you don’t have a primary care physician, check out the official website of your local health department for more information
- Ignore calls for immediate action. While you may want to be first in line for the vaccine, don’t let that sense of urgency cloud your judgment. Scammers try to get you to act before you think. Don’t fall for it.
- Think the link may be real? Double check the URL. Scammers often buy official-looking URLs to use in their cons. Be careful that the link is really what it pretends to be. If the message alleges to come from the local government, make sure the URL ends in .gov (for the United States) or .ca (for Canada). When in doubt, perform a separate internet search for the website.