Covid vaccine rollouts are in full swing across the US. While that’s exciting news, every state — and even some specific cities and their metropolitan areas — seem to have different processes for how you schedule an appointment, and they often include several steps to get booked. It’s all a little confusing!
Unfortunately, because of that, Covid vaccine appointment scams are starting to pop up to try and steal people’s personal information. It usually involves pretending to require Social Security or bank account numbers to reserve a spot, or asking for payment to get a dose, when in reality, it’s not necessary.
But don’t panic just yet! There are a few quick steps you can take to get that coveted vaccine appointment and still protect your info.
Go through official public health websites to book appointments.
There are some incredibly helpful aggregation sites that can show you where to get vaccines, but they themselves shouldn’t be scheduling the appointments for you; only a public health website portal can help you do that or send you where you need to go.
How can you make sure you’re booking through a government website? Any vaccine scheduling system coming from a public health organization will have a .gov address. Even if a website looks like it could be a legitimate public health hub, if the URL ends in something like .com or .org, you may want to take a closer look and potentially go elsewhere.
Don’t give away credit card, Social Security, or other information.
Legitimate vaccine appointment booking sites won’t ask for any confidential information like your Social Security number, bank account number, or credit card number. If a website is asking for any of those, take a pause before going any further and maybe have someone else take a look at where you’re booking.
Don’t pay any money for a vaccine dose or a spot on a waitlist list.
Vaccine doses are free to the public nationwide, so you shouldn’t have to put any money down to get one or to get on a waitlist for an appointment. If the website you’re on is asking for you to put down a credit card or give your bank account number, log off.
Taking just these few extra steps can help you avoid Covid vaccine appointment scams out there. And if you’re getting frustrated, just remember the bright side: You’ll be able to see friends and family really soon once you’re all vaccinated!