Michigan Attorney General weighs in on how to avoid Covid-19 vaccine scams

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FILE – In this Friday, Feb. 19, 2021 file photo, a pharmacist prepares a syringe from a vial of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine during preparations at the Vaccine Village in Antwerp, Belgium. A shipment of a quarter million AstraZeneca vaccines destined for Australia has been barred from leaving the European Union in the first use of an export control system instituted by the bloc over a month ago. An EU official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue, confirmed a report that first appeared in the Financial Times. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)— Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says the hard reality is that scammers will always try to take advantage of people when they are afraid, and right now only 11% of Michiganders have received their Covid-19 vaccine. That’s why it’s important to know what to look out for right now, starting with people trying to sell you the vaccine with a text or phone call.

“Remember these shots are free, they’re free of cost. You should not have to provide payment information, and you should have to pay at all,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Along with bank or payment information, experts say there is no reason a legit health official would be reaching out to you asking for a social security number. There is also no way to pay to cut in line for the vaccine before it’s your group’s turn.

“We have this methodology that’s been put in place as to when people can receive it and if people are advertising to you that there’s a way to work around the system, it’s likely a scam,” said Nessel.

Experts also say there are ways people can disguise the number and make it seem like they’re contacting you from a legitimate source. Whether it’s by email or phone.

“You might get a call and it appears it’s coming from your local health department, but really it’s not. The most important thing to do if you didn’t reach out first and you’re not expecting them to contact you back, you know ask, who are you? What is your name? Where are you calling from?”

The attorney general says you should hang up and look up the real number for who they said they were calling from.

“Oftentimes it’s not legitimate, but you would never know that because it really looks like it’s coming from that particular agency or that number.”

If you do receive spam the Attorney General’s Office says to report it and file a complaint to the Attorney General’s consumer protection website. That link is listed below.

https://nam11.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https:%2F%2Fwww.michigan.gov%2Fag%2F0%2C4534%2C7-359-81903_20942-514663–%2C00.html%23:~:text%3DThe%2520Attorney%2520General%2520is%2520not%2520the%2520only%2520Michigan%2520entity%2520being%2520impersonated.%26text%3DIf%2520you%2520receive%2520one%2520of%2Ccalling%2520877-382-4357.&data=04%7C01%7CLSnyder%40wlns.com%7Cc51fb818095f4771d87408d8e0d7d5dc%7C9e5488e2e83844f6886cc7608242767e%7C0%7C0%7C637506564891341482%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=bar%2FEkrgsDpq0WePrwyaOORTdLm6ITxEnNvQfhsYefw%3D&reserved=0

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