CHICAGO — With multiple Covid-19 vaccines recently becoming available, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is warning residents of northern Illinois to be on the lookout for fraud schemes.
Members of the public should be suspicious of unexpected or unsolicited contact from anyone unknown to them claiming to have information about a Covid-19 vaccine, said John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. Scammers often use telemarketing calls, text messages, social media postings, and door-to-door visits to perpetrate fraud. The fraudsters may falsely offer the vaccine or early access to it, in exchange for money or personal identifying information, such as Social Security numbers or medical history.
“Unfortunately, ruthless criminals are attempting to take advantage of unsuspecting people anxious to receive a Covid-19 vaccine,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch. “Any unsolicited offer to gain an advantage in connection with a Covid-19 vaccine is likely a scam. My office is working closely with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable anyone who seeks to commit fraud in connection with Covid-19 vaccinations.”
To obtain accurate information about the vaccine, members of the public are encouraged to contact their health care provider directly. U.S. Attorney Lausch also offered additional tips to help stay vigilant and avoid scammers:
- Do not click on links from sources you do not know. These links could be attempts to download viruses onto your computer or cell phone.
- Ignore online or phone offers for Covid-19 vaccinations. Actual health care providers will not ask you for money or personal identifying information over the phone or online.
- Never send money or disclose your Social Security number, date of birth, bank account or credit card numbers to unfamiliar persons. The vaccine will likely be offered free of charge in the United States, and you cannot pay to put your name on a list to obtain it.
Additional information about Covid-19 can be found by logging on to http://www.justice.gov/coronavirus. Anyone wishing to report fraud related to a Covid-19 vaccine can do so by logging on to http://www.oig.hhs.gov/coronavirus or by calling 1-800-447-8477.