RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As people all over the world and throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia anxiously await their turn to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, others are waiting to take advantage of them. Attorney General Mark Herring is asking that all Virginians be aware of possible vaccine-related scams and take precautions to make sure they don’t fall victim to one.
Different types of potential scams could include attempts to sell medications, treatments or vaccinations to are said to prevent or cure the coronavirus.
The Associated Press reported that Homeland Security is working with drug companies to help prevent such scams. Investigators from the agency will also be working to learn about how the vaccine is packaged and creating a mass database for more than 200 companies so they can be prepared to catch fakes and crack down on fraud. They are monitoring tens of thousands of false websites and looking for evidence of fake cures sold online.
While protections will be put in place, it’s still important to know how to protect yourself. If someone tries to offer you treatments or vaccines over the phone in exchange for money there’s a good chance they are just after your money.
Herring’s office provided the following tips for avoiding these scams:
- Always make sure that you consult a medical professional or a doctor in order to get the COVID-19 vaccine or treatment
- Do not buy any kind of COVID-19 vaccine or treatment over the internet or through an online pharmacy
- Make sure that your doctor or physician is approved to administer any kind of COVID-19 vaccine or treatment
- Ignore any unsolicited or “too good to be true” offers for vaccines, miracle cures, or treatments
- Be wary of any online ads you may see for COVID-19 vaccines or treatments on social media
- Do not respond to any unsolicited emails, text messages, or calls that are offering any kind of COVID-19 vaccine or treatment
- Always talk with your doctor or another healthcare professional before you try any product claiming to treat, cure, or prevent COVID-19
- Head to CDC.gov for clear and concise information on COVID-19. Additionally, visit the FDA’s Resources page to find out about treatments in development
“Unfortunately, scammers will take advantage of Virginians’ excitement over the prospect of an effective vaccine just to make a buck. I know Virginians are tired and ready to get their lives back to normal, but I want to urge everyone to be wary of any too good to be true COVID vaccine offers,” said Attorney General Herring. “Once distribution begins there will be strict protocols for receiving it. I want to urge all Virginians to remain vigilant and make sure you do your research before giving your money to anyone purporting to be selling a COVID vaccine or treatment.”