The BBB warns of increased COVID-19 vaccine-related scams

Variety of fraudulent schemes hitting Alaska and other states
Published: Feb. 8, 2021 at 3:29 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Better Business Bureau is warning of increased COVID-19 schemes, using multiple approaches, to acquire personal information and, in turn, money.

The BBB Scam Tracker is getting reports of phone and email scams in Alaska and throughout the nation, ranging from offers to charge 20 dollars for a dose of the vaccine, to those posing as health officials.

“They’re trying to get your personal information to open up credit cards in your name, to open up accounts, and different businesses in your name,” according to BBB public relations and communications manager Sheron Patrick. “So, your personal information is their number one goal.”

As with most scams, senior citizens are often the most at risk. This is a particular concern for AARP because it adds more confusion to what can already be a confusing and frustrating process, especially for those who aren’t tech-savvy.

AARP Alaska State director Teresa Holt tells Alaska’s News Source, “We also know it’s difficult to get an appointment so people are going to be more susceptible to having someone maybe calling them on the phone and say, ‘I’ll help you make an appointment for 20 dollars’ or not even for any amount of money but then they start taking personal information and that’s really our concern.”

Both the BBB and AARP stress to never release any personal information to strangers on the phone or email. That includes Medicare ID number, Social Security number or any banking information. And for those who overshare on social media, the BBB says this is definitely not the time to do so. There are multiple reports of people celebrating receiving their vaccine by showing their vaccine information card on their Facebook page.

“Which is leaving them up open to lots of issues from scammers and would-be bad people getting that information. That has their birth date on it, the healthcare facility in which they got the vaccine and their name,” said Patrick.

AARP suggests for seniors who need additional assistance to sign up for the vaccine to contact the Aging and Disability Resource Center by dialing 2-1-1.

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