View that offer to buy early access to COVID-19 vaccine with big dose of skepticism

Feds, BBB warn about vaccine scam

SAN ANTONIO – As millions anxiously await their turns for the COVID-19 vaccine, and with many frustrated by more demand than early supply, scammers are already taking advantage, federal agencies and consumer advocates warn.

“They are preying on that fear of missing out, that fear that you’ll be last in line,” said Better Business Bureau Regional Director Jason Meza.

The BBB, along with several federal agencies are warning about emails, text messages, phone calls and social media posts offering early access to the vaccine in exchange for some sort of payment.

“It’s important to remember, the vaccine is not for sale. You can’t buy it online. You can’t buy access to it,” Meza said. “Any website or person offering it should be a red flag.”

Those offers may come with a link, which Meza warns you not to click because it may lead to malware or a phishing attempt at your personal and financial information.

The state of Texas has a vaccine rollout plan based on who needs the vaccine’s protection most coming first.

So, while you may be eager, the Federal Trade Commission says you can’t pay to get your name on a list and no one from a vaccine distribution site will contact you and ask for your Social Security number or credit card number to sign you up.

If you receive an unsolicited offer regarding vaccine, the BBB suggests you do your research by starting with your doctor and relying on known, reliable sources.

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About the Authors:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.