Stay Alert for Fraud during the Pandemic

Posted on 04/15/21

Among many challenges throughout the pandemic, Angelinos now must be on high alert for scams. Unscrupulous criminals are trying to take advantage of people who are simply trying to survive.

First, there were scams involving fake test kits and phony cures, then there were nonexistent cleaning supplies and bogus stimulus grants.

More recently, fraudsters have taken advantage of the fact that COVID-19 vaccine appointments were hard to find, so they were offering opportunities to “skip the line” and get an appointment in exchange for cash.

And now, scammers are asking people to complete a survey about COVID-19 vaccines in exchange for cash or a prize.

The AARP Fraud Watch Network has information and resources to help protect you and your family from such scammers. You can sign up for free alerts, call the free help line at 877 – 908 – 3360 if you suspect a scam, and even look at our scam-tracking map to see what fraudsters have been up to in your area.

AARP staff and volunteers are also working hard in your community, hosting a variety of programs and workshops on fraud and other topics.

Tips from local, state and federal officials on avoiding COVID-19 scammers include:

  • Be wary of inbound calls, emails or texts that ask for personal information, including your Social Security number, bank account information and medical details.
  • Don't post a photo of your vaccine card on social media. Those cards include your name, date of birth, patient number and other information that bad actors can use to steal your identity.
  • Turn down pitches for fake COVID-19 cures and treatments. The FTC has been sending warning letters to companies making false claims about products that prevent or combat the virus.

Scammers are regularly evolving their techniques to defraud you, so be wary of anything unsolicited and always independently verify an offer or request.

Learn more at aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.

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Find information about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in your state. CDC information is available at cdc.gov/coronavirus; additional AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

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