San Mateo County's district attorney on Thursday warned residents to be on alert for scams related to the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
While the county continues to urge residents to wear masks, social distance and wash hands frequently and follow distribution protocols for COVID-19 vaccines, District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe said scammers may try to exploit the uncertainty and anxiety associated with the vaccine rollout.
County residents should be alert to the following potential scams:
- Someone offers to move you into an earlier group to get the vaccine for a fee.
- Someone tries to sell you a place on a COVID-19 vaccine waiting list.
- Someone on the street, online, on social media or knocking on your door tries to sell you a vaccine shot.
- You get calls, texts, or emails about the vaccine in which a person asks for your personal or financial information. It can be your Social Security, bank account or credit card number. Never share these numbers or other personal information with an unknown caller or in a text or email.
- You see ads for fake vaccines or "miracle cures" using vitamins or other dietary supplements. Scammers promote these even though they have not been proven to work. The FDA has issued warning letters to many companies for selling products that claim to prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19.
- If anyone that isn’t well known in your community (like a doctor, a health care clinic, a pharmacy, a County health program) offers you a vaccine, think twice and check with your doctor.
The county DA advises residents and businesses to avoid becoming victims of such scams by relying on trusted sources for vaccine and other medical information. Those sources would be personal health care providers and county, state and federal public health officials.
Anyone wishing to report a COVID-19 related scam in San Mateo County should contact the District Attorney’s Office by calling (650) 363-4651 or at https://da.smcgov.org/consumer-and-environmental-protection or calling the local police department.