State Attorney General Ashley Moody said Monday the state is starting to see quite a few vaccine scams pop up. One of the biggest tells that you’re talking to a scammer is if they’re asking you to pay for an appointment.
Moody said scammers may call, text, or email victims offering to set up vaccine appointments or to get on an expedited list to receive the vaccine for a fee. Some add credibility to their scam by creating fraudulent appointment booking websites.
Moody said any offer that requires payment in order to place the consumer on a waitlist, secure an appointment or expedite access to the vaccine is a scam. Unfortunately, this is one of the most common scams officials are seeing across the state.
"We continue to stress to all residents that all vaccination sites for COVID-19 do not charge," explained Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings. "We have heard that there are potentially some fraudulent sites that are up."
Other scams aren’t as obvious because instead of asking you to buy into a questionable service, the scammers actually pose as county health officials or vaccination site representatives in charge of setting up appointments.
This is a problem considering many sites, including Hillsborough County, actually do call seniors to set up appointments. Moody said the scam artists may even tell victims to arrive at a known local vaccination site at a specific date.
Moody said to be wary of any caller that solicits personal information, such as a Social Security number, Medicare card number or credit and banking information in order to secure an appointment.
The state provided the following information on vaccine scams:
Paid Appointments: Scammers may post fraudulent appointment booking pages or call, text or email offering to set up a vaccine appointment or expedite access to a vaccine appointment for a fee.
Know that any offer requiring payment in order to place the consumer on a waitlist, secure an appointment or expedite access to the vaccine is a scam. Attorney General Moody previously issued a Consumer Alert warning Floridians of misleading appointment booking pages.
Supposed In-Home Vaccinations through Medicare: Fraudsters claiming to be from Medicare may offer seniors in-home vaccination appointments and request a senior’s Medicare card in order to schedule, but this too is a scam.
While Medicare cards no longer use Social Security numbers, the card number is still private data that could be used to commit Medicare fraud and should be protected.
Additionally, know that Medicare representatives will never visit seniors at home nor call to sell something. To find more information on Medicare coverage of COVID-19 vaccines, click here.
Scam Appointment Calls: Scammers may also call would-be victims posing as county health officials or a vaccination site representative setting up an appointment. Rather than requesting payment, these callers are seeking private information to be used to commit identity theft or fraud.
These scam artists may even tell victims to arrive at a known local vaccination site at a specific date and time to bolster the ruse. Be wary of anyone soliciting personal information—such as a Social Security number, Medicare card number, or credit or banking information—in order to secure an appointment
Identity Theft Using Vaccination Cards: Attorney General Moody previously issued a Consumer Alert warning those who have received vaccinations not to share vaccination cards online.
Vaccination cards issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include the recipient’s full name, birthdate, and vaccine location—information scammers can use to hack online accounts or commit identity fraud.
Additionally, these cards may be used to create convincing-looking fake vaccine documentation.
Anyone who suspects a COVID-19 vaccine-related scam is asked to report it to the Attorney General’s Office by calling 866-966-7226 or visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.