(CBSDFW.COM) – A Texas attorney with the Department of Justice is sending out a warning about possible scammers who might use the COVID-19 vaccine as a way to prey on residents.
On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Texas would be distribute more than one million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of December. So far, about 225,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine have been distributed throughout the state since it was approved last week.
Millions of people will be waiting for their turn to take the vaccine, and the Justice Department believes scammers will use that to their advantage.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve seen fraudsters taking advantage of public programs and supply shortages – we expect the new vaccine to provide similar platforms for deceit, and we will be ready to prosecute those responsible for vaccine-related fraud to the fullest extent of the law,” said U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox of the Eastern District of Texas.
Officials with the Justice Department, the FTC and the FBI believe scammers may try to convince residents to pay for early access to the vaccine or for the vaccine itself. Out-of-pocket charges for the vaccine are not expected during the public health emergency, officials said.
Officials warn residents to be aware of suspicious phone calls, emails or home visits regarding the vaccine and payments. Vaccine distribution sites will not ask for credit card or banking information.
Anyone who believes they may have become a victim of a scam can call the National Center of Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1.866.720.5721 or online here.
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