Beware of COVID-19 scams offering to help skip the line for vaccine
TORONTO -- Waiting to get the COVID-19 vaccine can be frustrating for some so it's not surprising scammers are claiming they can help you get the vaccine much sooner.
“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, e-mails, texts, online ads and robocalls,” said Donna Rosato with Consumer Reports.
Ever since the vaccines were first announced scammers have created fake websites, texts and emails that claim they can sell you the vaccine or get you to the front of the line to get your shot.
The vaccine is always free and you never need to pay to make an appointment.
In the U.S. officials shut down a website that had a name similar to vaccine maker Moderna after it was allegedly trying to sell vaccines for $30 per dose.
Earlier this year the city of Hamilton had to put out a warning that it was not charging residents to be first in line to be vaccinated.
Since we are still months away from every adult having access to the vaccine, vaccine fraud will not disappear anytime soon.
To protect yourself from a vaccine scam realize that you should never be asked to pay money.
“If anyone is asking you to pay to either book an appointment or to get the actual vaccine, its a scam. Getting the shot is free and you can’t buy it anywhere. So ignore any e-mails or pop-up ads charging a fee,” said Rosato.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is also warning of front-of-the-line vaccination offers, saying you can’t pay to reserve a spot.
You also can’t buy do-it-yourself home vaccination kits.
Vaccines are not for sale and they can’t be shipped to you.
Scammers may also pose as your local health authority to try and get your banking or credit card information.
"So if you get a call, email or text asking for this, ignore, ignore, ignore,” said Rosato.
The Canadians Anti-Fraud Centre said over the past 12 months Canadians have been defrauded out of 7.2 million dollars related to COVID-19 scams.
You should only deal with trusted sources when searching for vaccine information. You can check Ontario’s covid-19 website run by the government or check with your local municipality’s health unit.