With demand high and supplies of the coronavirus vaccine limited, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is warning residents to be on alert for scams related to the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“People should be wary of anyone who offers the vaccine or promises priority access to the vaccine or a COVID-19 cure in exchange for money,” said Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul. “I am urging Illinois residents to be vigilant for scams related to the vaccine, which could compromise their health and personal information.”
Vaccine distribution is being overseen by Illinois public health officials, who are also sounding the alarm on vaccine scams.
“Because of the limited amount of vaccine, we want people to be aware of potential scammers who may ask you to pay out of pocket to get the vaccine, who offer to give you early access to the vaccine, or offer to ship you (the) vaccine for payment,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.
Residents will only be able to receive the vaccine through a designated health clinic, and no one can pay to put their names on a distribution list or purchase early access to the vaccine, according to Raoul’s office.
The attorney general urges people not to buy any COVID-19 vaccine or treatment on the internet or from an online pharmacy. Residents should not have to pay any amount out of pocket in order to receive the vaccine.
Medicaid and Medicare will not call seniors or residents to proactively offer the vaccine, according to Raoul, who says residents should consult their health care provider or local health department for guidance in determining when the vaccine will be available to them.
“Until more vaccine is readily available, we ask people to be patient, understand there may be others in similar risk categories who may get vaccinated first, and continue to wear their mask, watch their distance and avoid gatherings,” Ezike said.
Residents should ignore online solicitations, phone calls and text offers for the COVID-19 vaccine and hang up on any robocalls that direct you to take immediate action or ask for personally identifiable information like your Social Security or bank account numbers, according to the attorney general’s office.
If you receive an email or text promising access to COVID-19 treatments, don’t click on any links contained in them, as they may place malware on your devices, according to the attorney general’s office. Those emails and texts should be deleted.
Anyone who receives solicitations from telemarketers or via text message or social media should file a consumer complaint with the attorney general’s office.
Individuals who have questions or need to report a scam should call the attorney general’s fraud hotline at 800-386-5438 (Chicago), 800-243-0618 (Springfield) or 800-243-0607 (Carbondale), or file an online complaint.
For more information about the state’s vaccination plan, visit the IDPH website.