Consumer Reports: How to spot, avoid COVID-19 vaccine scams  

Waiting to get a COVID-19 vaccine can get frustrating. The same goes for navigating the online or telephone registration process, but you really do need to be careful. Consumer Reports has ways to spot scams, and tips to protect yourself from falling victim.

In January, one website, which had a name similar to vaccine maker Moderna, was shut down by authorities and its creators were later arrested, after allegedly trying to sell vaccines for $30 per dose. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident.

"Scammers are feeding off the frenzy of people trying to get a vaccine by offering fake promises of early access to shots and are targeting people by social media posts, emails, texts, online ads and robocalls," said Donna Rosato of Consumer Reports.

And since we are still a couple of weeks away from every adult being eligible for the vaccine, it does not appear vaccine fraud will disappear anytime soon.

So, to protect yourself from a vaccine scam, first and foremost, learn how to spot them: Consumer Reports says take a hard pass if you are asked for money.

"If anyone is asking you to pay to either book an appointment or to get the actual vaccine, it's a scam. Getting the shot is free and you can't buy it anywhere. So, ignore any emails or pop-up ads charging a fee," she said.

If you have already paid for a vaccine using a credit card, dispute it with your credit card company.

Unfortunately, if you used a payment app such as Venmo or Zelle you are unlikely to get your money back because they do not offer the same protections as a credit card.

Also, never reveal any of your personal financial information. No legitimate place is going to ask you for your credit card or bank account information to get the vaccine so if you get a call, email or text asking you for this info, just delete it.
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