NBC 5 Responds: How to Protect Yourself from COVID Crooks

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As more COVID-19 vaccine doses arrive in North Texas, federal authorities warn to be on the lookout for new scams that promise access to a vaccine.

Vaccine supplies are extremely limited so here's what you need to know.

You Don't Have to Pay for Access to the Vaccine

If someone offers you early access to a vaccine or says you need to pay to get on a special list, Federal Trade Commission attorney Reid Tepfer warns that’s a lie.

“If they're contacting you by text, email, social media, even if they show up at your door offering you that, that's a scam. Full stop,” said Tepfer.

You Will Not Have to Provide Personal Information to “Register” for a Vaccine

Tepfer says if someone contacts you about the vaccine and asks for your Social Security number, bank account or credit card information, that is a scam.

Health departments, healthcare providers, insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid are not calling and asking patients for personal information in order to get a vaccine.

“That’s a sure sign of a scam,” said Tepfer.

Instead, some North Texas counties are opening up online registrations for people seeking the vaccine. Again, you don't have to pay to register.

No One Has COVID-19 Vaccine Doses to Sell You

The federal government has said the vaccine will be free. It’s set aside a pot of money to pay for uninsured patients too.

If someone claims they can directly sell you a vaccine, that’s not true – explains Dr. James Pinckney of Diamond Physicians.

“There's no secret list for the rich and famous. Even the logistics of transporting the COVID-19 vaccine is very challenging,” said Dr. Pinckney.

He explains the federal government is allocating doses to states and the state decides who is next in line.

You can access the state’s vaccine distribution dashboard here.

The DFW Hospital Council has said the vaccine could be widely available between April and late summer of 2021.

How to Report a Scam

If you spot a scam or fall victim to one, report it immediately to the FBI here. You can also call 1-800-CALL-FBI

You can also report it to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services here or call 1-800-HHS-TIPS.

NBC 5 Responds is committed to researching your concerns and recovering your money. Our goal is to get you answers and, if possible, solutions and resolution. Call us at 844-5RESPND (844-573-7763) or fill out our Customer Complaint form.

*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

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