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Slow Vaccine Roll-Out Leaves Door Open to Scammers

Yaёl Bizouati-Kennedy
·2 min read
FG Trade / Getty Images
FG Trade / Getty Images

As most people are eagerly waiting to get a COVID-19 vaccine, scammers are surging all over the U.S. and in Europe, offering easy access — for a fee.

As of Monday, only 4.5 million shots have been administered since the vaccine has been available in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Initial projections estimated that 20 million shots would be administered before the end of the 2020. People are getting anxious about the vaccine’s slow roll-out, and scammers are taking advantage of it.

See: When Can You Get the COVID-19 Vaccine — and How Much Will It Cost?
Find: Could Your Boss Make You Get the COVID-19 Vaccine to Keep Your Job?

The FBI released a statement asking the public to be on the lookout for these scammers. It said that some signs to be aware of include being asked to pay out of pocket for the vaccine, or being asked to pay for early access or a spot on a COVID-19 vaccine waiting list. The statement also mentions to be wary of vaccine advertisements coming through online platforms, including social media, and through email or telephone calls, as well as ads from unsolicited and unknown sources. Marketers offering to sell or ship doses of the vaccine domestically or internationally in exchange for a payment are also suspect.

INTERPOL has issued a global alert to law enforcement across its 194 member countries warning them to prepare for organized crime networks targeting COVID-19 vaccines, both physically and online. The alert outlines potential criminal activity involving individuals who are advertising, selling and administering fake vaccines.