What Are Your Rights? Spotting a COVID Vaccine Scam

Recorded on February 24, 2021

COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out, and millions of Americans are receiving their first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Unfortunately, public health officials have also warned the public about scams promising the sought-after vaccine for a fee. How can you recognize if you’re potentially being scammed?

Managing partner Paul Harding of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti is on CBS6 to help explain.

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Announcer: Following segment is sponsored by Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.

Interviewer: COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out, and millions of Americans are receiving their first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna drug. Unfortunately, public health officials have also warned the public, following scams promising the sought after vaccine for a fee. So, Paul, first question, how might our viewers recognize if they’re potentially being scammed?

Paul: Sure. So, we know there’s two companies that are executing these drugs, and it’s Moderna and Pfizer, right? We know also it’s a two-part system. You have your primary shot, and then you have, weeks later, days later, you have your booster. So, anyone who’s promising, and they are, sort of a one-shot deal, that’s a real red flag right there. The biggest one has to do with money, okay.

The shots are free, but they’re claiming, “Well, we can move you up the list if you pay a fee.” There’s nobody ever getting moved up the list for a fee, okay. It is going to be the most vulnerable. We have the elderly. We’ve got first responders. It’s a list. You’re on that list. You’re not going to move from that list. And when you see that, it is somebody who is looking to profit and not offer you anything.

Interviewer: Are there criminal or other legal consequences for those trying to perpetuate these scams?

Paul: Here we have this pandemic, and they’re trying to take advantage of people’s fears. So, what happens is, if you are in contact with these people, and you have information on them, turn it over to the health department. There is fraud charges that will be brought if they can find them. Again, these things are happening and, you know, somebody from Russia, or somebody out of the country. I don’t know what they’re going to do with that, but immediately, you should turn it over to authorities.

Interviewer: So, what should our viewers do if they believe that they’re being scammed right now, or maybe they have been a victim during this time?

Paul: Well, one thing they need to do is be really smart about when they get the vaccine. What I’ve seen all over the internet is people have these vaccinated cards, and they hold their card up. And there’s enough information on there that somebody who wanted to steal your identity could open a credit card virtually. I mean, your date of birth and all that stuff is on there.

So, keep that down. I mean, people are excited, and they’re kind of showing around the internet. But it’s a bad idea. And I also think that they just need to recognize if there’s ever a fee, if they’re ever going to write a check to somebody, it’s fraud, right? This is a free vaccine. Money does not move you up the list. Keep two things in mind, and again, be as patient as everybody can.

Interviewer: If you want more information on this topic, just head to our website cbs6albany.com.

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