NORFOLK, Va. — The FBI and VDH held a meeting Thursday to discuss the best ways to avoid getting tricked into offering up personal or financial information.
FBI's Norfolk Divison Public Affairs Officer Christina Pullen said the department has been receiving thousands of calls since the beginning of the pandemic related to scams trying to scare people.
"The FBI received more than 28,000 complaints to our Internet crime complaint center last year related to COVID-19 and it is all over the board," Pullen explained.
The bureau says there are three major signs you should be on the lookout for to avoid scams:
- If they ask you to pay out of pocket for the vaccine or to register for the vaccine.
- If they ask you to put your name and information like your phone number down on a waiting list.
- If they ask you for personal or financial information like your Social Security Number.
If you are asked any of these questions, understand it is potentially a scam. The Virginia Department of Health and local pharmacies will not ask you personal questions like these.
VDH Eastern Region Public Information Officer Larry Hill explained in the meeting that the department will never ask you about your immigration status. He added the only time they will ever ask you about your health insurance is when you arrive for your appointment and that would not affect your chances of getting the vaccine.
Other tips to avoid scams include not posting your vaccination card on social media. You don't want to have a photo of your personal information like your phone number up on the web.
Pullen says you may also want to pay attention to spelling in your texts or emails, saying, "You want to double-check and make sure that every number and letter is accurate and on point so you know it is a legitimate email."
The FBI says if you are asked to click on a link, make sure it says ".gov" so you know it's an official source.
You can learn all information on how to register for your vaccine and what to expect on the Virginia Department of Health's website.