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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > June 2021 > Beware of New COVID-19 Scams

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Beware of New COVID-19 Scams

As vaccines are approved and distributed, Ohioans are reminded that scammers watch and read the news of the day in an attempt to scam people using timely schemes. When COVID-19 vaccines were limited in availability by age group, scammers tried to convince people that they could “jump the line” in order to receive a vaccine by providing the scammer their personal information. Now that the vaccine is available to all adults, scammers are likely moving on to scams relating to vaccine cards and COVID-19-related funeral expenses.

Here are some timely tips to consider:
  • Don’t pay to sign up for or receive the vaccine. Anyone who asks for a payment to put you on a list, make an appointment for you, or administer the vaccine is a scammer.
  • Never share your personal, financial or health information with people you don’t know. No one from a vaccine distribution site, health care provider’s office, pharmacy or health care payer, like a private insurance company or Medicare, will call, text or email asking for your credit card or bank account number to sign you up to get the vaccine.
  • Don’t post your vaccination card to social media. Your vaccination card has key information on it, including your full name, date of birth, where you got your vaccine and the dates you got it. When you post it to Facebook, Instagram or some other social media platform, you may be handing valuable information over to someone who could use it to steal your identity.
  • Don’t fall victim to the imposter scam. Scammers are impersonating government officials administering a federal program providing funeral assistance for COVID-19 victims. Scammers pretend to be from FEMA's COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program – which is a real program – and call to offer program registration to family members of people who have died from COVID-19. In this way, the scammers can steal the family members’ Social Security numbers and other forms of identification.
It’s important to remember, any time there is a highly publicized government program through which money is distributed, scammers are always ready to take advantage. They may create websites of similarly sounding programs or directly contact people to try to take advantage of them. However, FEMA will not contact you to participate in this program. Anyone who does call, text or email you to receive funds from the funeral reimbursement program is likely a scammer; do not reveal any information about yourself or your deceased relative, including confirming a name, date of birth or Social Security number.
  • Learn how to tell the difference between a real contact tracer and a scammer. Legitimate tracers need health information, not money or personal financial information.
  • Be wary of ads for test kits. Many test kits being advertised have not been approved by the FDA and aren’t necessarily accurate. Almost all authorized home tests don’t provide rapid results and require you to send a test sample to a lab for analysis.
Consumers who suspect a scam or who have problems they can’t resolve on their own should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515. The office provides a free informal dispute resolution process to help resolve complaints.