Florida Attorney General issues consumer alert for COVID-19 vaccine scams
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Attorney General Ashley Moody has issued a Consumer Alert for tips to help Floridians stay safe regarding COVID-19 vaccine products and distribution-related scams.
The warning comes after the International Criminal Police Organization issued a global warning which revealed that “out of 3,000 websites associated with online pharmacies suspected of selling illicit medicines and medical devices,” over half of them contained phishing and spamming malware.
“I am extremely encouraged by news of multiple coronavirus vaccines potentially moving toward FDA approval. Once we have an effective immunization, the swift and orderly distribution of the vaccine will be key to getting our state and country back on track. But Floridians must remain on high alert,” Moody says. “Scammers may try to exploit the sense of urgency surrounding the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to swindle those trying to protect their health. I am asking all Floridians to be on the lookout for vaccine-related scams and report fraud to our office.”
Moody provided the following tips to help avoid vaccine-related scams:
- Know that no COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the FDA as of the time of this Consumer Alert; therefore, any attempt to sell a vaccine right now is not legitimate;
- Do not respond to solicitations about vaccines. Once a vaccine is approved and available to the public, availability will be announced by federal and state government agencies, with clear priority tiers and distribution guidelines;
- Never send money or financial information to anyone offering a COVID-19 vaccine or claiming the ability to expedite the process. Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be provided at no cost; however, vaccination providers will be able to charge an administration fee. Vaccine providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund; and
- Report suspicious solicitations or COVID-19 vaccine-related advertisements to the Attorney General’s Office by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.
Copyright 2020 WCTV. All rights reserved.