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FBI warns of COVID vaccine scams

Posted at 6:26 PM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-21 22:18:09-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Scammers traditionally try to take advantage of bad situations like natural disasters.

COVID-19 is no different. We saw it earlier in the year in relation to masks and tests.

“There are always bad actors who like to take advantage of other people’s misfortune to make money. We’ve seen it after natural disasters, we’re seeing it now as a result of COVID,” says Bryan VanDeun, a supervisory special agent who manages the white collar crimes division at the Omaha FBI field office.

VanDeun says scammers may contact you looking for money in exchange for the vaccine.

“If you get an unsolicited call or an email, offering you the ability to pay for a place in line or to increase your number on the list to get a higher priority for a vaccine, that’s a scam. That’s not the way it’s going to work,” says VanDuen.

No American will have to pay for the coronavirus vaccine and they also won’t be able to divvy out cash to cut in line or get a vaccine mailed to them.

“There will be adequate announcements about how it works. It shouldn’t be unsolicited phone calls or emails to individual residences about that,” says VanDeun.

There’s been no reports of it happening yet in Nebraska or Iowa. If you do get a call, VanDeun says call your elderly relatives to ensure they don’t get tricked either.

They also recommend you report it to the FBI, HHS or the Medicare hotlines:

FBI HOTLINE: 1-800-CALL-FBI
MEDICARE HOTLINE: 1-800-MEDICARE
HHS HOTLINE: I-800-HHS-TIPS