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Alaska FBI office warns of COVID-19 vaccination scams

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 4:18 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - With the coronavirus vaccine being distributed across the State of Alaska, the Alaska FBI office is warning about those looking to scam people attempting to get vaccinated.

Adam Pierce, Assistant Special Agent in Charge with the Anchorage Field Office of the FBI, told us potential scams can be recognized and avoided using knowledge shared by the FBI. “From a larger national standpoint, the FBI is seeing scammers leverage the COVID-19 vaccine to defraud the American public, and we don’t want to see this here in Alaska. The FBI is joining with our law enforcement partners to raise awareness of COVID-19 vaccine fraud.”

For starters, if someone asks to be paid out of pocket for a vaccination, that is a large warning sign. Various medical officials including Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer for the State of Alaska, have stated that the goal is to make the vaccine free for everyone. Even those without insurance will be able to get the vaccine at no cost. Any party asking to be paid out of pocket is very likely being dishonest.

Another warning sign to be aware of is someone offering to register an individual for a waiting list, or if they already are on a waiting list to bump them closer to the top. All appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations are done through partners working alongside the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Visiting the DHSS website will show you who is a confirmed vaccination distributer and where you can contact them to make an appointment. Appointments become available as more vaccines arrive and none of these partners should be asking for monetary compensation to “bump” someone to the top of a waiting list.

The FBI also warns to be wary of advertisements for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone, or from unsolicited/unknown sources. The bureau also urges Americans to ignore marketers offering to sell or ship doses of the vaccine, and to avoid giving out personal information to unknown sources.

To report COVID-19 vaccine fraud contact the HHS-OIG hotline at 1-800-HHS-TIPS, or at tips.hhs.gov. You can also contact the FBI hotline at 1-800-CALL-FBI, or at ic3.gov.

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