Authorities urge public to beware of fake vaccine notifications
Indiana and Michigan are both expanding their pools of those eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. With that expansion comes more targets for scam artists to try to get your money or your personal information. One woman in Dowagiac got a call about two months ago that she now believes was an effort to steal her money masked in a notification that she could get her first dose. Health and law enforcement officials said there are some things to be on the look out for to make sure information you receive about the vaccine is legitimate.
"When I got the call, the first thing they said was that my shipment of the virus vaccine was ready to be shipped and they needed my Visa number," said Marylee Parks, the woman who got that phone call. "Of course, then I knew what it was."
Parks said she knew something was wrong when the person on the phone asked for her credit card number. She said she did not give away her number because she "never gives it away," but health officials like St. Joseph County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox say if someone calls and asks for any kind of payment to get your vaccine, that should be considered a red flag.
"If anyone says, 'we'll give you the vaccine for x amount of dollars,' run because that's not a legitimate effort," Fox said.
Fox also said that anyone in Indiana who is not some kind of frontline worker will not get an individualized alert about vaccine eligibility. The State notifies the general public through Governor Holcomb's weekly press conferences when the eligibility pool has expanded.
Local law enforcement like Elkhart City Police Lieutenant Travis Snider, said if you believe you have been the victim of a fraudulent vaccine notification, your first call should not be to the police.
"Their first call should be to their bank, their financial institution and their credit cards," Snider said. "They're going to want to get a hold put on those or stop payment or stop activity immediately."
Parks said she hopes everyone is careful about who they trust when it comes to getting your COVID-19 vaccine.
"Just be careful," Parks said. "Check things out. Try not to fall for a lot of it or believe a lot of it with these phone calls."
Parks is eligible to get her first dose of the vaccine but said she has not yet done so because of the weather.