ROCKVILLE, MD — As many anxiously await vaccination against COVID-19, scammers are luring people into buying fake products or sharing their personal information for a vaccine appointment.
Officials in Montgomery County are warning residents about these fraudsters — and say they’ve seen a dramatic increase in “phishing” scams and robocalls in recent months.
“Among the scams identified are ones regarding bogus products, testing sites, and vaccine availability,” officials said. “In most cases, the attention-getting scams seek to have innocent residents provide the scammers with funds for services or products that do not actually exist. In other cases, fake or stolen vaccines may be offered on the ‘dark net.'”
Eligible residents can get a vaccine through a county-run clinic, a state-run mass vaccination site, or a private provider.
But officials say some scammers are telling residents that they can get around the system or be put on a vaccine waiting list if they provide their Social Security number or other personal information.
“These scammers are clever and opportunistic,” said Eric Friedman, the director of the county’s consumer protection office. “They seek to turn the latest news events into scams that exploit consumer fears and concerns regarding the Coronavirus.”
To avoid interactions with scammers, Friedman advises residents to rely on information provided on the county’s website. That includes:
A video about common scams can be viewed at https://youtu.be/XlX6rRxxVN0.