The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois is warning residents to look out for fraud programs related to the release of new coronavirus vaccines.
A news release on Tuesday warned local residents that scammers could potentially use various methods to steal money as vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer, and other companies may hit the market in the coming weeks and months.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says there is no way for local residents to cross the COVID-19 vaccine limit and warns against informing strangers over the phone or online.
“Fraudsters frequently use telemarketing calls, text messages, social media postings and door-to-door visits to commit fraud,” said US attorney John Lausch Jr. in a statement. “The scammers can falsely offer the vaccine or have early access to it if they receive money or personal identification information such as social security numbers or medical history.”
Residents are encouraged to contact their health care providers directly for information about the vaccine, including when they are eligible to receive it.
The office also offered a few other tips to residents to avoid vaccine-related scams:
– Do not click links in emails from sources you do not know. These links could be attempts to download viruses to computers or cell phones.
-Ignore online or phone quotes for COVID-19 vaccinations. Healthcare providers will not ask for money or personal identification information over the phone or the internet.
– Never send money or give out social security numbers, date of birth, bank accounts or other information to unknown people. The vaccine is expected to be offered for free in the US and if you put your name on a list to get it early, you won’t be able to pay.
Those who feel they are victims of fraudulent systems related to the virus can report this to the Ministry of Health and Human Services, according to Lausch’s office. Residents can also call 1-800-447-8477.