Coronavirus vaccinations continue to expand across the country. As a result, many employers are already preparing to reopen their offices and return to in-person work. However, a growing number of COVID-19 vaccine scams can put your team and your company at risk. Use this template to warn your employees about protecting against coronavirus vaccine fraud.
Seven Common COVID-19 Scams and Frauds
NBC News reported in late January 2021 that scammers are taking advantage of Americans’ fears about coronavirus vaccine uncertainty. Up until recently, much of the vaccination response had been coordinated on a state-by-state basis—and while the federal government has taken actions to accelerate vaccine availability, states and local municipalities typically remain responsible for significant portions of the response.
The initially shaky vaccine rollout left room for unsubstantiated rumors to run rampant among communities desperate for protection. In response, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General released a fraud alert to warn Americans about schemes related to coronavirus vaccine access.
According to the release, scammers offer “COVID-19 tests, HHS grants, and Medicare prescription cards in exchange for personal details, including Medicare information.” HHS is clear that these services aren’t approved and aren’t legitimate. Likewise, the department listed several common COVID-19 scams and frauds. These include:
Offers to individuals to pay out of pocket to get the vaccine
Offers to individuals to pay to put their name on a vaccine waiting list or to get early access to the vaccine
Offers to individuals to purchase vaccination cards
Unsolicited requests for personal, medical, and financial information
Unexpected calls or visitors offering COVID-19 tests or supplies
Unexpected text messages and emails from unknown contacts about COVID-19
Offers for a $200 Medicare prescription card, which do not exist
For more information on COVID-19 vaccine scams, refer to the following HHS infographic.
COVID-19 Vaccine Template: How HR Can Warn Employees About Possible Scams
Employers should let their employees know not only that potential scammers could try to steal their information but also the steps they can take to protect themselves from this fraudulent activity. HR can warn team members about these scams by sharing the previously linked HHS information, as well as communicating a few best practices employees should follow when trying to access COVID-19 vaccines.
Use the following communication template to warn employees:
As COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available, we’ve seen a proliferation of vaccination-related scams that attempt to steal money and personal information from people. In response, we’ve compiled eight tips you should consider to protect yourself against these scams, based on the latest Department of Health and Human Services information. They include:
Never share personal, financial, and medical information with an unexpected or unknown contact promising access to a coronavirus vaccine or an HHS grant
Never agree to pay out of pocket to get a vaccine
Never pay to put your name on a vaccine waiting list or to receive early access to a vaccine
Avoid advertisements that promote vaccine access, including on social media, in emails, online, over the phone, and from unknown sources
Never share pictures of your COVID-19 vaccination card on social media
When receiving a COVID-19 test, always check to make sure the location is an official testing site
Never share your Medicare number, financial information, or attempt to set up a coronavirus test with a person who claims to be a contact tracer
Report any suspected fraud using an online HHS form or by calling 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477)
If you have any questions about these tips or other ways to protect yourself, please contact [contact info]. If you’d like to learn more about how and when you can access a COVID-19 vaccine, we recommend you talk with your healthcare provider or use the [state/city] coronavirus vaccine resources.
What Else Should Employers Know About the COVID-19 Vaccines?
Aside from fraud claims, employers must also consider if they should encourage employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s also important to stay on top of the latest vaccine developments in the state and city of your workplace.
Source: Bernie Portal