Officials warn public of COVID vaccine scams
When COVID-19 vaccines were released, scams related to them were not far behind.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is cautioning the public about giving information or money to anyone claiming to offer short-cuts to the vaccines.
“As the COVID-19 vaccine is administered to Pennsylvanians, we believe scammers will begin working overtime to take advantage of consumers and attempt to steal your personal information and your money,” Shapiro said. “Pennsylvanians should remain on guard and report any scams to my office. We are here to help.”
“Any call claiming that you can cut in line to get the vaccine by paying out of pocket is a scam and should be reported to our office,” Shapiro said. “Always be wary of any unsolicited offers that require you to provide your insurance or doctor’s information.”
So far, there have been no documented reports of that kind of scam in Warren County, according to Sheriff Brian Zeybel.
“However, there is a known individual and possible group related to this person that are calling law enforcement sources, the EOC, and governmental bodies, and ultimately the public leading the recipient to believe that they are in an official capacity, working with and for other agencies in a data collection type capacity,” Zeybel said. “This person has had contact with law enforcement – myself included – and has been directly explained the legal aspects of these inquiries.”
While that person is not known to have broken any laws, Zeybel suggests not supplying any information.
“We can not prevent this person from making calls and gleaning information from these sources, as they have yet to break the law in doing so,” Zeybel said. “If it is proven that this individual or any other person is claiming to be an employee of an agency, or governmental body that they are not, criminal charges will be sought.”
“If anyone in the Warren — Jamestown area receives a call like this; inquiring about their COVID status, how they feel, ‘for informational gathering purposes,’ it is strongly suggested that a call-back number be requested of the person inquiring and the caller’s name.”
“No information should be shared with the caller,” Zeybel said. “If needed, please call local law enforcement or the sheriff’s office with that information for assistance in verification,” Zeybel said.
“Please do not give anyone your information without verifying the source,” he said. “There are legitimate COVID emails and inquires through the testing firms and data bases that all are secured with password protection, codes, etc.”
No matter the nature of the request, “please verify the source before supplying personal information of any kind via telephone or email,” he said.