RICHMOND, Va. -- As the United States nears approval and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has issued a warning to Virginians to be on the lookout for COVID-19 vaccine-related scams.
Herring said as this pandemic has shown, when there is money to be made, scammers will take advantage.
Early in the pandemic, it was price gouging on items like masks and hand sanitizers.
Now, with approval of one or more COVID-19 vaccines looming, Herring wanted Virginians to look out for phishing scams where people will try to get you to click on a link that could lead to your personal information being stolen.
Another scam, he warned, was companies selling an actual product - that isn’t the real vaccine.
Herring said when distribution begins, it would be done according to strict protocols.
"[Do] not buy any type of COVID-19 vaccine or treatment over the internet, or through an online pharmacy," Herring said. "I'd like Virginians to be especially wary of online ads they might see for COVID-19 vaccines or treatments on social media."
A Virginia Department of Health spokesperson said the department was made aware of possible scams and "passed along threat info to our vaccinating partners, encouraging enhanced vigilance."
Herring's office said people should follow this tips to avoid becoming the victim of a vaccine scam:
- 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
Anyone who thinks they may have been scammed should reach out to Herring’s Consumer Protection Section:
Poll: 50% of Americans ready for vaccine shot
A new poll find only about half of Americans are ready to roll up their sleeves for COVID-19 vaccines even as states prepare to begin months of vaccinations.
The survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows about a quarter of U.S. adults aren’t sure if they want to get vaccinated when their turn comes. Roughly another quarter say they won’t.
The Food and Drug Administration is poised to decide whether to allow emergency use of two candidates.
Many on the fence have safety concerns and want to see how the initial rollout fares. The coronavirus has killed nearly 290,000 Americans. The U.S. also leads the world with 15.2 million confirmed cases.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.