Published in the January 29, 2021 edition.

There has been an uptick in scams related to obtaining a COVID vaccination. The Massachusetts Attorney General advises that you be wary of unsolicited offers that, “ask for payment or a deposit in exchange for early access to vaccines. You can’t pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine or to get into a vaccine clinical trial.”

There are also scammers creating websites that mimic the state’s registration site to gather Social Security or credit card information. Your best bet is to go to a trusted source of information that you’ve navigated to yourself, not a link from an email.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has become aware that members of the general public are receiving phone calls from scammers reporting to be with the CDC, even adjusting their caller IDs to mimic the organization. These scammers attempt to obtain sensitive information in exchange for purported access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Attorney General also reminds us to beware of unsolicited emails, especially those that purport to have a link to register for the COVID-19 vaccine. “These phishing emails may be an attempt at identity theft and may contain hyperlinks and downloads for malware that can allow fraudsters to take over computers and steal information. If you receive an email from your employer or health care provider about signing up for an appointment, call them to verify. Do not open unsolicited emails or click links in emails or text messages from people you don’t know, be wary of email attachments, and never provide personal information, including passwords, bank account details, or your Social Security number via email to an unverified source.” 

The Attorney General’s Office encourages anyone with questions or concerns to call their consumer hotline at 617-727-8400 or file a complaint online.