FBI warns of COVID-19 vaccine scams as nationwide distribution nears

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Federal officials issued a warning for weary Americans to stay vigilant for possible coronavirus vaccine scams after two separate inoculations began rolling out across the nation. 

While the preventatives mark the first step in inching the United States back to pre-pandemic lifestyles, they also present a prime opportunity for criminals to take advantage of Americans vying for a normal life as soon as possible. 

FIRST MODERNA COVID-19 VACCINATIONS STARTING MONDAY

The COVID-19 vaccine co-developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, and another from Moderna, are being distributed to health care workers and nursing home residents — about 24 million people. 

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On Sunday, The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices declared, by a 13-1 vote, that people who are at least 75 as well as certain front-line workers, totaling roughly 50 million people, should be next in line to receive the vaccine. 

CORONAVIRUS VACCINE DISTRIBUTION PLAN: STATE-BY-STATE BREAKDOWN

The FBI listed several warning signs of potential scams for consumers once vaccination broadens to the general public. 

They include:

  • If you are asked to pay out of pocket. 
  • If you are asked to pay in order to be placed on a waiting list or to get early access. 
  • Any advertisements for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online or from any unsolicited/unknown source. 
  •  A marketer offering to sell or ship the vaccine for a fee. 

Officials urge consumers who believe they have been a victim of a scam to report it immediately. 

The FBI has three hotlines dedicated to reporting scams. 

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