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Up next: COVID-19 vaccination scams

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Tue, Dec 29th 2020 11:10 am

Division of Consumer Protection urges New Yorkers to be aware of COVID-19 vaccination scams

Scammers using a variety of methods tied to COVID-19 vaccines to target consumers & steal personal info

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) is alerting consumers about scammers taking advantage of COVID-19 vaccinations to steal personal information. Scammers are using techniques that typically arise with a major global event such as: falsely claiming to be online sellers of the vaccination; sending fake emails and texts that contain harmful links designed to steal one’s personal information; and using robocalls to pitch vaccination information. DCP said people should be on the lookout for scammers looking to take advantage of public interest surrounding vaccinations.

“The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccination brings along hope for so many of us, but it also creates new opportunities for unscrupulous scammers to attempt to lure people into unintentionally providing their personal information,” Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said. “As the vaccine is rolled out over the next several months, there are simple steps you can take to avoid COVID-19 vaccine scams that can help protect your hard-earned money and your identity.” 

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "As we begin the monumental and historic task of vaccinating New Yorkers for COVID-19, we must be mindful of following verification protocols that will ensure a safe and effective vaccination process. As Gov. Cuomo has announced, the vaccine will be free to receive and should be covered by insurance. New Yorkers can do their part by keeping their personal health information safe and questioning any requests for information that are not affiliated with a trusted health or government entity.”

Trusted Information – Vaccinate New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently launched the Vaccinate New York website to provide New Yorkers with a one-stop location for accurate and up-to-date information on the vaccine, safety, distribution priorities and a number of other details. Upon accessing the site, New Yorkers will find not only general information about the vaccine, but also a detailed frequently asked questions section that provides facts about the vaccine's safety and efficacy. DCP said this information is critical to help instill confidence in the vaccine and to educate the public on it. Information on New York's clinical advisory task force, which approved the FDA's decision to move forward with the vaccine for New York, and on New York's vaccine distribution and implementation task force, are also available on the website.

New Yorkers can access the website by visiting www.ny.gov/vaccine.

Below are tips to protect oneself from COVID-19 vaccination scams:

√ Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. It could download a virus onto your computer or device. Make sure the antimalware and antivirus software on your computer is up to date.

√ Be aware of emails coming from unknown senders. Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts claiming to have information about the vaccine. For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus in New York, visit the New York State Department of Health website.

√ Ignore online offers for vaccinations or emails claiming you can get your vaccine sooner. If you see ads touting getting your vaccination sooner for COVID-19, ask yourself: Is an ad or sales pitch a trusted source of information?

  • Be aware of emails asking for your personal information. Do your homework when it comes to sharing your personal information over email. Confirm by calling the sender.
  • Hang up on illegal robocallers. If you receive a call about scam COVID-19 vaccines, hang up. Don’t press any numbers. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls, instead.

For up-to-date information on COVID-19 and vaccination information, visit the New York State Department of Health website or call the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-364-3065.

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection serves to educate, assist and empower the State’s consumers. For more consumer protection information, call the DCP helpline (800-697-1220) from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  weekdays, or visit the DCP website at www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection. The DCP can also be reached via Twitter at @NYSConsumer or Facebook at www.facebook.com/nysconsumer.

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