COVID scam: Scammers prey on those seeking COVID-19 vaccine, BBB warns

Some are selling fake vaccines, while others are promising to get you to the front of the line
CHICAGO (WLS) -- As vaccine shipments go out, scammers are already trying to cash in.

Some are selling fake vaccines, while others are promising to get you to the front of the line.

In less than 24 hours, the COVID-19 vaccine will roll out across the country, and the Better Business Bureau is warning that scammers will be right on its tail.

CHICAGOLAND VACCINE GUIDE: See COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans for your area

"Anytime there is something new out there or any way that the scammer can exploit consumers, they will," said Steve Bernas, president & CEO of BBB Chicago and Northern Illinois.

The vaccines have not yet hit hospitals but already consumer investigators are getting reports of vaccine-related scams on the East Coast.

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In some cases, the scammers are falsely offering consumers an earlier dose of the virus vaccine. Sometimes even calling from a familiar caller ID name.

"Most consumers don't realize that caller ID can be changed by a simple computer program," Bernas said.
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Other tactics scammers have used in the past includes using a sense of urgency to lure their victim.

"If they want you to do something quick -- in 30 minutes, that's usually the tip-off to the rip-off. The only thing you should do in 30 minutes is buy a pizza," Bernas said. "Nobody has any extra information or information on how to get a better place in line - that information is trying to exploit from you and trying to get better information from you."


In this first round, those on the COVID-19 frontlines and essential workers will be part of the first waves.

RELATED: Better Business Bureau: Avoid Falling For Coronavirus Scams

The Better Business Bureau reminds everyone that when the vaccine is available to the general public only trust information from your doctor and local health department.

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The Better Business Bureau said one scam to look out for is the so-called "miracle cure" for COVID-19.

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