Be aware: How to spot a vaccine scam

Unfortunately, older adults and others who are awaiting vaccine appointments can fall prey to scammers. Though there have not been reports of this sort of scam happening in Oregon, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum released information to help people avoid being the target of fraud regarding COVID-19 vaccines.  

Here are six tips on how to spot a vaccine scam: 

  1. You cannot pay to get early access to the vaccine. If someone calls to offer an appointment for a payment, it is a scam.
  2. Do not pay to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone who wants money to put you on a list, make an appointment for you, or reserve a spot in line is a scammer. 
  3. Worried about cost? If you are uninsured, on Medicare, an employer plan, private insurance, or the Oregon Health Plan, you do not have to pay to get the vaccine. That is a scam. 
  4. Ignore sales ads for the vaccine. The vaccine is only available through federal or state partners. You cannot buy it anywhere.
  5. Nobody legitimate will call, text or email about the vaccine and ask for your Social Security number, bank account information or credit card number. 
  6. You are not required to provide a Social Security number when registering for a vaccine appointment. 

Please share these tips with your friends and family, and if you know a senior who is not tech-savvy, offer to help them get an appointment for their vaccine — and then, help them find a way to get to the appointment. 

If you have information, or think you may have fallen victim to a fraud or scam, contact the Oregon Department of Justice online at, or call the Attorney General’s Consumer Complaint Hotline at 877-877-9392. 

This article first appeared in the March 5, 2021 issue of Oregon Coronavirus Update.