RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Now that distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is underway, new scams are popping up from criminals who are using the vaccine as a way to steal money.
One of the newest scams preys on a fear that people might not be able to get the vaccine if they wait in line, so the scam “offers” a way to sneakily move to the front of the vaccine waiting line.
When the vaccine first rolled out, the lines were daunting and some still are.
Depending where you are, you’re either going to have to wait because of your age or because there’s a lot of folks ahead of you — so scammers offer a solution.
“They would essentially put you on a list where your name goes to the top so you don’t have to wait,” said Catherine Honeycutt of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina.
It’s called a “line-jumping” scam.
“You may receive a message, either a text message or a phone call or an email, letting you know for a small fee you can have your name put on a waiting list for the COVID vaccine,” she said.
That’s a red flag. All they want is your money. There’s no such list.
“These messages seem legit,” Honeycutt said. “They might claim to be a government representative or member of the CDC.”
Since the pandemic started, there have been many COVID-19 related scams and once the vaccine became available, a fresh round of those scams blossomed using high pressure tactics.
“These scammers will offer alternative methods to the vaccine — whether it’s a home remedy or maybe get you to pay for a cure,” she said.
Scammers will even offer to send you the vaccine in the mail for a fee so you can administer it yourself.
“You may never receive anything in the mail, or scarier, you could receive a product claiming to be the vaccine and it’s not,” said Honeycutt.
Once you inject it, you think you’re protected from the virus but you’re not.
Remember, these scammers work best when exerting high pressure — to hurry up before you miss out on the vaccine.
Don’t let them force you into giving up your cash for something that’s not legit.