It is unconscionable that anyone would be scamming the public with fraudulent vaccine offers.

The FBI has issued a warning about several scams related to COVID-19 vaccines.

We urge our readers to be cautious and to trust legitimate, known sources for public health information.

The feds have been getting complaints of scammers using bogus vaccine claims to obtain personal information and money through various schemes.

We are happy to share these words of caution from the FBI and other federal agencies. Be aware of fraudulent claims, including:

• Advertisements or offers for early access to a vaccine upon payment of a deposit or fee.

• Requests asking you to pay out of pocket to obtain the vaccine or to put your name on a COVID-19 vaccine waiting list.

• Offers to undergo additional medical testing or procedures when obtaining a vaccine.

• Marketers offering to sell and/or ship doses of a vaccine, domestically or internationally, in exchange for payment of a deposit or fee.

• Unsolicited emails, telephone calls or personal contact from someone claiming to be from a medical office, insurance company or COVID-19 vaccine center requesting personal and/or medical information to determine recipients’ eligibility to participate in clinical vaccine trials or obtain the vaccine.

• Claims of FDA approval for a vaccine that cannot be verified.

• Advertisements for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online or from unsolicited/unknown sources.

• Individuals contacting you in person, by phone or by email to tell you the government or government officials require you to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Here are a few additional tips that federal agencies have shared to help consumers avoid COVID-19 scams:

• Consult the state’s health department website for up-to-date information about authorized vaccine distribution channels and only obtaining a vaccine through such channels.

• Check the FDA’s website for current information about vaccine emergency use authorizations.

• Consult your primary care physician before undergoing any vaccination.

• Don’t share your personal or health information with anyone other than known and trusted medical professionals.

• Check your medical bills and insurance explanation of benefits for any suspicious claims and promptly reporting any errors to your health insurance provider.

• Follow guidance and recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other trusted medical professionals.

We just find it incredibly offensive that anyone would attempt to take advantage of the fear, pain and suffering that millions of people have endured and continue to face during this public health crisis. Anyone caught in connection with these kinds of scams should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

We also want the public to know you can trust your local health department, pharmacy, the hospital and your family physician when it comes time for you to receive one of the federally approved vaccines.

Please continue to practice other reliable forms of mitigation, including wearing a protective face mask, social distancing, avoiding gatherings and washing your hands frequently.

THE VALDOSTA

DAILY TIMES

Valdosta, Georgia