Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. Today: Building a digital defense against COVID-19 vaccine scams.
Oregon and Washington are seeing increasing numbers of vaccine doses compared to where we were a few months ago… but demand is still far outstripping supply. That sets up a situation where bad actors can use your anxiety to steal your identity and your money.
Here are some warning signs:
Ads or offers for early access to a vaccine if you pay a deposit or fee.
You are asked to pay out-of-pocket to get the vaccine or to put your name on a COVID-19 vaccine waiting list. In any case, you should not have to pay for your vaccine.
You see claims of FDA approval for a vaccine that cannot be verified.
You receive unsolicited ads from unknown companies for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, or online. Any contact you get should be from a known medical provider, health department, or relevant government agency.
Here’s how to protect yourself:
Consult your state or county’s health department website for up-to-date information about authorized vaccine distribution channels and only obtain a vaccine through such channels. In Oregon, https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19 is a trusted resource. In Washington, https://coronavirus.wa.gov/ is a trusted resource.
Check the FDA’s website (www.FDA.gov) and the Centers for Disease Control’s website (www.CDC.gov) for the latest national information about the coronavirus and the vaccines.
Don’t share your personal or health information with anyone other than known and trusted medical professionals.
If you believe are a victim of an online scam, you should report the incident to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your FBI local office.