Watch Out for Vaccine Scams

Federal agencies say fraud schemes related to COVID-19 vaccines have popped up, from people trying to obtain personal information and money.  

“As a word of caution, the health department does not request financial information when contacting individuals for appointments,” says Champ Thomaskutty with the Calvert County Health Department. 

Be on the lookout for: 

  • Advertisements or offers for early access to a vaccine upon payment of a deposit or fee 
  • Requests asking you to pay out of pocket for the vaccine or to put your name on a waiting list 
  • Offers to undergo additional medical testing or procedures when getting a vaccine 
  • Marketers offering to sell and/or ship doses of a vaccine, domestically or internationally, in exchange for payment of a deposit or fee 
  • Unsolicited emails, telephone calls, or personal contact from someone claiming to be from a medical office, insurance company, or COVID-19 vaccine center requesting personal and/or medical information to determine eligibility 
  • Claims of FDA approval for a vaccine that cannot be verified 
  • Ads for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online, or from unsolicited/unknown sources 
  • People contacting you in person, by phone, or by email to tell you the government or government officials require you to receive a COVID-19 vaccine 

How to avoid COVID-19 vaccine-related fraud: 

  • Consult Maryland’s health department website for up-to-date information about authorized vaccine distribution channels. Only get a vaccine through these channels. 
  • Check the FDA’s website ( for current information about vaccine emergency use authorizations. 
  • Consult your primary care physician before undergoing any vaccination. 
  • Don’t share your personal or health information with anyone other than known and trusted medical professionals. 
  • Check your medical bills and insurance explanation of benefits (EOBs) for any suspicious claims and promptly reporting any errors to your health insurance provider. 
  • Follow guidance and recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other trusted medical professionals. 
  • Never provide personal information of any sort via email; be aware that many emails requesting your personal information may appear to be legitimate. 
  • If you believe you have been the victim of a COVID-19 fraud, immediately report it to the FBI (,, or 1-800-CALL-FBI) or HHS OIG ( or 1-800-HHS-TIPS). 

–Krista Pfunder 

* Tips are provided by The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).