Need a COVID vaccine? Watch out for appointment scams, Florida attorney general warns

Did the caller offering to set up your COVID-19 vaccine appointment ask for money or Medicare information? Was the call unexpected because you didn’t think you were eligible for a shot?

Then put on your Florida Fraud detector glasses — it might very well be a scam, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody warned in a consumer alert on Monday.

“Florida is turning the corner with vaccinations outpacing infections,” Moody says in the alert. “This is great news, but it would be a mistake to let your guard down now — we need to remain vigilant, not only in preventing the spread of COVID-19, but also in protecting against scams that exploit the pandemic in an effort to steal your money or identity.”

Here are the styles of COVID appointment scams in her alert, as gathered from consumers and media:

Paying for appointments

The vaccine is free. So is the appointment. But scammers know how exasperating it can be to get a vaccine appointment and know that when people get desperate, they’ll pay for services they should be getting for free.

Whether it’s a website or a phone call, “know that any offer requiring payment in order to place the consumer on a wait list, secure an appointment or expedite access to the vaccine is a scam,” Moody warns.

Medicare at-home vaccinations

This one starts with a phone call offering a senior citizen vaccination shots through Medicare via house call. Again, this one plays on the appointment-making frustration combined with the lure of not having to be around a lot of people and/or stand in a long line while waiting for your vaccination shots.

But that’s a fraudulent soup and salad trying to turn a senior into a sucker. The caller wants Medicare information for that Florida favorite, Medicare fraud.

“Additionally, know that Medicare representatives will never visit seniors at home nor call to sell something,” Moody said.

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