Seemingly the biggest story of today is the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. From every news source, the topic seems to be how the vaccines will be distributed, who is entitled to receive one, where they will be administered. However, this vaccine rollout has provided scammers with a new opportunity to target and take advantage of seniors.
There are a few things to watch out for when it comes to helping seniors to avoid falling victim to these scammers and their tactics.
- An important fact to note is that scammers take advantage of people’s fears. Based solely on the COVID crisis, there have been scams involving cures and instant tests, fake cures, and other such scams. Most scammers use the same methods over and over; robocalls, door-to-door solicitation, phishing emails, among others. Now that the vaccine is being rolled out, the same tactics are being applied. The way to combat this is never open any messages from someone you don’t know. Be wary of emails that appear to be from a known entity that is requesting personal information. It is always best to contact the company directly to avoid being taken advantage of by a scammer. Also, be wary of anything that concerns the vaccine that asks for a payment. The vaccines are funded by the government, and even if there is a fee required, it should be covered by insurance.
- Scammers are known for trying to make you act quickly and/or stir up a state of panic that causes the listener to act quickly. A common strategy is to tell the senior they will lose their place in line if they don’t pay for the vaccine right now. While it may be tempting in these uncertain times, it is important to remember that no legitimate distributor is going to do this.
- Never, never give personal information to someone that is not entitled to have it. The rollout of this vaccine is such a huge endeavor and the guidelines are not very clear at this time. Rather than relying on an unsolicited phone call, it is always better to check in with healthcare providers or even the local health department to get the details about vaccine rollout.
When it comes to the vaccine, the only reliable sources of information are primary healthcare providers. They are the only ones who should be entrusted with medical and financial information regarding receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, and they are the only ones who will be able to share accurate information about when and where the vaccine will be available. With vigilance, older adults can avoid falling victim to vaccine scams.
Monday, January 18th, was Stone Port’s vaccine day! We are so grateful for the team that worked together to bring lots of hope to residents. We are excited for what the future holds!