Saturday, February 27, 2021

Life & Style

State Officials Warn Connecticut Residents to Be Aware of COVID-19 Vaccination Scams and Report Suspicious Behavior

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As reputable COVID vaccination programs roll out, like this one in North Branford, state officials have warned residents to be on the lookout for bad actors and scammers who might take advantage of the pandemic to try to cheat people. Here, North Branford school nurse Cindy Tirollo R.N., left, checks in with Barbara Naclerio, second left, prior to Naclerio’s first dose of the vaccine. File photo by Wesley Bunnell/The Source

As reputable COVID vaccination programs roll out, like this one in North Branford, state officials have warned residents to be on the lookout for bad actors and scammers who might take advantage of the pandemic to try to cheat people. Here, North Branford school nurse Cindy Tirollo R.N., left, checks in with Barbara Naclerio, second left, prior to Naclerio’s first dose of the vaccine. (File photo by Wesley Bunnell/The Source | Buy This Photo)

State officials have warned Connecticut residents that as the COVID-19 vaccine continues to become available to more people, they should be aware of potential scams related to the vaccine and be on the lookout for certain warning signs that can help them avoid being scammed.

Residents are reminded that:

• No one from a legitimate vaccine distribution site will ever ask for someone’s Social Security number or bank information in order to receive a vaccine.

• Nobody will ever need to pay to get early access to the vaccine.

While patients may be asked to provide health insurance information when they receive the vaccine, health insurance is not required to receive it.

• Patients will never be asked to pay to put their name on a list to receive the vaccine.

• Internet scammers may post as legitimate businesses or organizations related to the distribution of the vaccine in an effort to steal personal or financial information.

• People should ensure that emails related to the vaccine are coming from legitimate sources before clicking links or opening attachments.

• When providing personal information, people should double check the URL to ensure its legitimacy.

• There are a limited number of federally approved vaccines and treatments.

• People should be aware of anyone offering a “miracle cure,” treatment, or medication that claims to prevent the virus and is not one of the federally approved vaccines.

If anyone becomes aware of a vaccine-related scam or believes they may be the victim of a scam, he or she should file a complaint with state and local authorities:

• Suspected fraud or business-related scams can be reported to the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection by visiting ct.gov/DCP or sending an email to dcp.complaints@ct.gov.

• Suspicious activities related to vaccine distribution practices or concerns for public health can be reported to local law enforcement or local public health officials.

“This is a crucial time for Connecticut’s response efforts and I am happy that we are among the states leading the nation in our vaccination efforts,” Governor Ned Lamont says.

“As Connecticut continues to serve as a model for states across the nation for its vaccination efforts, it’s critical that we don’t let bad actors disrupt our monumental progress,” Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz said.

“Getting vaccinated is one of the most important things we can do to stop COVID-19,” Attorney General William Tong said. “Scammers are out there looking to profit off our anticipation and anxiety... Make sure you are getting information directly from reputable sources, including your employer, your medical provider or the state’s ct.gov/covidvaccine site.”

For the most up-to-date information about where, when, and how to receive the vaccine in Connecticut, visit the state’s website at ct.gov/covidvaccine.

General information about the vaccine is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19.

Most people who are eligible for the vaccine should be able to schedule an appointment online or through their healthcare provider. For those who do not have access to the internet or who cannot schedule an appointment through their health care provider, it is possible to schedule on the phone by calling the CT COVID Vaccine Appointment Assist Line at 877-918-2224. The line will take calls on Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will offer a call-back option when all contact specialists are busy serving other callers. The team will aim to return calls as soon as possible, with the goal of same-day response.

The 2-1-1 information hotline is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer questions.


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