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Vaccine scams
Posted February 4, 2021 | 1:05 PM

Don't Be Fooled by COVID-19 Vaccination Scams

Supplies of vaccinations limited, but always free

Hillsborough County officials are warning people to be aware of scammers trying to prey on people’s desire to get vaccinated for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Scammers often gravitate toward products and services in high demand, and COVID-19 vaccines are no exception. In recent weeks, scammers have been using phones, the internet, faxes, and social media to try to obtain money or financial or personal information, offering a coveted appointment for a vaccination as bait.

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Sometimes the aim is access to a Social Security or credit card number; other scams download malware if the victim clicks on a link. Sometimes, the scam is so effective the victim shows up for a vaccination appointment that doesn’t exist.

Hillsborough County’s Office of Emergency Management reminds people that vaccinations are free and those making vaccination appointments will never ask for payment, credit card information, or a Social Security number.

A COVID-19 Consumer Alert issued by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody offers information and tips for people who are approached by someone seeking to take advantage of them.

Sometimes the scammers' offers range beyond vaccinations. The Florida Department of Health in February reported that someone called a homeowner and, on behalf of health officials, requested an appointment to disinfect their home. It was a scam. The Department of Health has no such service.

See something suspicious? Report possible scams to the Florida Attorney General's Office at 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or by visiting MyFloridaLegal.com. Or contact Hillsborough County Consumer & Veteran Services.