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COVID-19 Vaccine Scams: How To Spot The Red Flags

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Desperation to get the COVID-19 vaccine means you may need to be on alert. Scammers are trying to take advantage of people wanting to get the shot ASAP.

Susan Esquivel of Minneapolis got a call from number with a 400 area code to her home phone on Monday, promising vaccine if she acted quickly.

"It said you'll get the free vaccine," Esquivel said. "But you must be there at this certain time and you'll get, you know, the vaccine."

Calls like the one Esquivel got are what agencies across the state are now warning about. Scammers are offering fake opportunities to get vaccinated, and are hoping taking something from you in the process.

The red flags to look out for

The Minnesota Department of Health says if anyone offers to sell you vaccines, it's fake. They're free though approved providers. If anyone says you can pay to get on a list or get the vaccine sooner, that's also a scam. If anyone offers to ship you the vaccine, it's not real. Everyone will get their vaccine from a professional.

Suspicious Phone Call
(credit: CBS)

Bao Vang is the communications director for the Better Business Bureau serving Minnesota and North Dakota.

"Because the vaccine is so new and a lot of people are thinking about it and wanting it, some folks are even desperate to get this. We know activities related to scams are happening," Vang said.

BBB and the Hennepin County Attorney's Office are also warning people to be on high alert. If anyone asks for credit card information, or bank account and social security numbers, turn them away. Be on the lookout for phishing emails promising the latest and greatest vaccine updates. And remember that no one from Medicare will call, text or email you to set up an appointment.

To find out when you're eligible for a vaccine, check with your healthcare provider. Click here to report a suspected scam to the BBB.

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