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The Office of Inspector General, U.S Department of Health and Human Services, FBI, and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is concerned about the surge of crimes and fraud with regard to COVID-19 vaccines. They are warning the public and relevant entities to now be cautious more than ever.
A number of complaints have been received by the FBI, HHS-OIG, and CMS about the fraudsters using COVID-19 vaccines to devise various schemes to defraud people. Fraudsters have been able to acquire personal information from people along with their money. These agencies are tirelessly working with law enforcement authorities to prevent all sorts of frauds.
The types of fraud that can occur are unsolicited emails claiming to be some official medical office or insurance company and will gather personal information for “vaccine registration”. Fraudsters can distribute fake vaccines to various hospitals as well as pharmacies while claiming this vaccine is approved by FDA. They can offer to sell vaccines through shipment/delivery and will claim payment of the deposit fee. They can pretend to be government officials gathering personal data of the people for vaccines.
The fraudsters can also take money to put people on the waiting lists for the COVID-19 vaccine. The world is already in desperate need of a cure for such a lethal disease and criminals are exploiting their fears.
In order to fight these cybercrimes, the FBI has laid out some guidelines for citizens. They have warned about the rise in identity theft and have requested people to not give out their personal information to anyone at all including phishing emails. The citizens and companies are asked to use two-factor authentication, biometric authentication, or hardware tokens whenever possible. End-users and business organizations are made aware of the malware emails. The use of the FDA’s website is recommended for any vaccine-related updates.