Don’t fall for a COVID-19 vaccine scam

It can be frustrating while you wait to become eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, and it can also be confusing while you try to navigate the process. Consumer Reports warns scammers are trying to take advantage of your frustration.

For example, in January, a website with a similar name to Moderna was shut down by authorities and its creators arrested -- accused of trying to sell vaccines for $30 per dose. Consumer Reports says this is not an isolated incident.

“Scammers are feeding off the frenzy of people trying to get a vaccine by offering fake promises of early access to shots and are targeting people by social media posts, emails, texts, online ads and robocalls,” explained Consumer Reports Senior Editor Donna Rosato.

Since we are still waiting for every adult to have access to the vaccine, it doesn’t appear vaccine fraud will disappear anytime soon.

Consumer Reports says to protect you and your family from a vaccine scam, first and foremost, take a hard pass if you’re asked for money.

“If anyone is asking you to pay to either book an appointment or to get the actual vaccine, it’s a scam,” warned Rosato. “Getting the shot is free and you can’t buy it anywhere. So, ignore any emails or pop-up ads charging a fee.”

If you’ve already paid for a vaccine using a credit card, dispute it with your credit card company. Unfortunately, if you used a payment app such as Venmo or Zelle you’re unlikely to get your money back because they don’t offer the same protections as a credit card.

Also, Consumer Reports says never reveal any of your personal financial information.

“No legitimate place is going to ask you for your social security number, credit card or bank account information in order to get the vaccine. So, if you get a call, email or text asking for this, ignore, ignore, ignore,” Rosato said.

If you received something that looks like a vaccination scam, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission by going here: ReportFraud.ftc.gov.