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Message To Seniors: Beware Of Scammers Offering COVID Vaccines Over The Telephone

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Many elderly people are anxious to get the COVID vaccine and unscrupulous scammers know this.

For nearly a year, 87-year-old Janice Gach and her 90-year old husband, Lou have been very careful. In fact, they barely leave their Weston home in fear of getting sick.

"Ever since February, we stopped going out for anything," she said. "If I even get a head cold, I get into bronchitis and it's bad."

Getting the coronavirus could be devastating for the Gach's. Ever since the vaccine became available, the Gach's have called the state health department and have been online trying to get an appointment.

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Janice patiently waited for word from the state. She said, "I was just expecting the phone call to come back from the state because they had my name, my phone number, my birthdate and my zip code."

A phone call finally came from the state. Or did it? At first, Janice was excited. She thought it was her turn to be vaccinated, but something wasn't quite right with that phone call.

"Then he said, would you spell your name. But because my name is Janice Gach, he didn't know how to spell it."

"I said you should have my name. I mean you're getting in touch with me about the vaccine," Janice recalled. "He said they only gave us telephone numbers. They didn't give us anything else."

Janice wasn't buying it and flipped the script. She started asking the caller questions. Where are you calling from? What's your telephone number? The man on the phone wasn't exactly forthcoming.

The FBI has issued consumer warnings as has Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody.

Both alert that anyone asking for money for a vaccine appointment is a scammer.

The Broward Sheriff's substation in Weston also put out social media alerts to its residents.

They warn of scams offering vaccines for a fee, bogus emails or texts. Also, fake versions of the vaccine.

Quite simply, you can't pay for early, or immediate access to the shots. COVID vaccines are always free of charge.

Janice, the gutsy great-grandma, is anxious yet apprehensive to get the vaccine. She knows ultimately it can protect her from a medical catastrophe.

However, she won't compromise her personal information. She has advice for everyone to follow.

"When someone calls you on the phone, be very suspicious and don't give out any information," said Janice.

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