Consumer Alert: As COVID-19 vaccines roll out, BBB warns consumers about fake vaccine sales

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HONOLULU (KHON2) – With COVID-19 vaccines in que, scammers are scheming on how to use this new development to steal consumer’s identity and money.

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Officials have already cracked down on fake COVID-19 testing kits and treatments. Now, they are ramping up efforts to stop the sales of fake vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccine scams can come via phone call or text message. The Better Business Bureau says, consumers may start to receive messages that seem to be from health care providers promising early access to the vaccine.

“If somebody calls you and says, ‘Hey, we can get you to the front of the line,’ no one can get you to the front of the line,” said Roseann Freitas, Better Business Bureau Hawaii Marketplace Manger. “That’s not how this is working, you can’t pay to get to the front of the line.”

If con artists ask consumers to pay over the phone to secure a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s a scam.

“You should not have to share all of that personal data to get your shot over the phone. So if they’re asking for your credit card, they’re asking for your social security number, you want to put a complete stop to that and know that’s not a legitimate call. When in doubt, call your doctor as well.”

Since March, the Federal Trade Commission has hammered down on hundreds of scammers selling fake COVID-19 treatments online.

As Coronavirus vaccines get ready to roll out, the BBB says beware of this ongoing scheme.

“We’re not going to be buying that over the counter. That vaccine is going to go through the medical community. So we need to be aware that they’re going to try different ways to use our fear of the disease to get our money and our information. So don’t fall for it. When in doubt, reach out to your health care professional.”

For more tips on how to avoid a COVID-19 vaccine scam, click here.

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