HONOLULU (KHON2) – Officials say COVID-19 vaccine scams are getting trickier to weed out. If consumers receive texts, phone calls or emails claiming that they can get the vaccine at a price, that could be a huge red flag.
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“They’re trying to get you to panic and think that you can bypass the normal procedures by paying them money, because they have some kind of inside information,” said Stephen Levins, the Director of the Office of Consumer Protection.
Meanwhile, Senior Medicare Patrol Hawaii, an organization which helps families prevent healthcare fraud, says they’re seeing a spike in vaccine scams targeting kupuna.
“They may be 808 numbers, but they’re not from here,” said Norma Kop, the Director of Senior Medicare Patrol Hawaii. “We have phone calls, people complaining that they thought it was a local call, then we find out they’re from another state. When we try to search more about it, they hang up.”
In one case, a Hawaii resident received a call from Jamaica, claiming the vaccine is only available for $1,000.
“If you have concerns, look up the number yourself. Contact the hospital yourself or contact a health care provider yourself. Don’t follow the instructions that you get on unsolicited emails,” Levins said.
The DCCA says, no one can pay to receive earlier access for a vaccination and the Hawaii Department of Health will not call and ask for resident’s social security or credit card numbers.
The DCCA also wants to remind the public that COVID-19 vaccines are free. If there are administrative fees, the health insurance provider should cover that.
For more information on Hawaii’s vaccine plan, click here.