Lamont warns of COVID vaccine scams

A file photo of a Meriden, Conn., police cruiser.

A file photo of a Meriden, Conn., police cruiser.

Meriden Police / Contributed Photo

Connecticut officials are warning residents to be on the lookout for scams related to the COVID-19 vaccine, while authorities in Meriden have reported scammers posing as contact tracers.

Gov. Ned Lamont’s office on Monday alerted residents to some potential red flags.

Fraudsters could ask for personal information such as social security numbers, bank account information or ask residents to pay to be put on a list to receive the vaccine — all things legitimate sites would not request.

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

Others could pose as legitimate businesses or organizations working to distribute the vaccine in order to steal personal information, the governor’s office warned. Officials recommend double-checking a website before giving out any personal information, and making sure emails are from a legitimate source.

Another thing to watch out for — anyone peddling a “miracle cure” for the virus outside of the federally-approved vaccines and treatments.

“I know where there is success, scams can follow, and we can’t let bad actors interfere with our efforts to ensure our residents are healthy, and we bounce back from this pandemic strong,” Lamont said in a statement. “I encourage anyone who see suspicious behavior or signs of a scam to report it.”

“Getting vaccinated is an important step in stopping the spread of COVID-19,” Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle Seagull said. “Unfortunately, scammers often follow the news cycle and may try to take advantage of people in a high stress time. So, the Department of Consumer Protection is reminding the public to be vigilant and to take steps to protect themselves from both scams and COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, Meriden officials said they have had reports of residents receiving calls from scammers posing as contact tracers.

Police, in a joint statement with Meriden Health and Human Services Department, on Monday said some residents have received calls from scammers requesting private information — like financial information and social security numbers. The callers claimed to be contact tracers.

Contact tracing allows public health departments to reach people who might have come in contact with the coronavirus without being aware of it.

While contact tracers will ask for medical symptoms and about anyone you had contact with recently, they will not ask for personal financial information or social security numbers.

All calls or requests for private information like social security numbers or financial information are “fraudulent in nature,” police said. These calls and requests should all be reported to the police department’s non-emergency line at 203-238-1911.

Police said any residents who think they might have been a victim of a coronavirus scam should contact the department immediately.

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