BBB: Watch out for COVID vaccine scams

BBB: Watch out for COVID vaccine scams

Updated: 11:43 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) --- As many wait for COVID-19 vaccinations to get approval, the Better Business Bureau says scammers are preying on those who are waiting to get one.

The BBB says websites are offering fake COVID-19 testing kits, treatments, and vaccines.The Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin is warning about coronavirus vaccine scams.

“People want this vaccine. They want more information on it. You get something claiming you can be first in line or they can speed up the process or whatever it is and people are going to fall for it,” BBB of Wisconsin President and CEO Jim Temmer said. 

Temmer says you should not trust anyone claiming to sell the vaccine and that the vaccine is not for sale. Temmer says scammers just want your money and personal information.

“Websites come down and they come up. They come down, they come up. That’s why these people are so hard to track down,” Temmer said. 

He also says the sites may look official, but they aren't.

“They may say again it’s an official government form and you put information in there and they want some sort of payment. Even if it’s a low payment they have your credit card number,” Temmer said. 

Officials say just be vigilant with your personal information.

"Just take your time. Make sure you know what you’re doing and research carefully all of your options,” Temmer said. 

BBB officials say you also want to make sure any website you are visiting for a vaccine ends to make sure it is legitimate and secure. 

Published: 9:41 a.m. 

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) --- Wisconsin Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning the public to watch out for COVID vaccine scams as the United States close in on approving a COVID-19 vaccine. 

BBB said government officials expect scams to emerge as distribution begins, including phony treatments and phishing messages.

Government officials have already been cracking down on phony COVID testing kits and treatments, and now are working to prevent the sale of fake vaccines, according to BBB. Officials say U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is working to stop the sale and distribution of phony versions. The Federal Trade Commission also issued warning letters to several companies.

BBB states con artists have already impersonated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in phishing emails that claim to know news about coronavirus. 

There has also since been an increase in scams using robocalls to impersonate government officials, BBB reports.

In order to protect yourself from COVID vaccine scams, here is how BBB says to first spot that it is happening: 

Research carefully 

BBB says scammers are creative, so be skeptical of anything that seems too good or crazy to be true. Be aware that none of the vaccines can be currently purchased online or in stores. Double check with official news sources.

Check with your doctor

Ask your healthcare provider about your options or check out the official website of your local health department for more information.

Ignore your immediate action

Scammers try to get you to act before you think - BBB says don't fall for it. Do not let a sense of urgency cloud your judgement.

Think the link may be real? Double check the URL

Scammers often buy official-looking URLs to use in their cons, according to BBB. If the message allegedly comes from the local government, be sure the URL ends in .gov for the United States. When in doubt, BBB says to perform a separate internet search for the website.

For more information, click here.

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