DETROIT (January 28, 2021) – As demand for COVID-19 vaccine continues to outpace the supply, scammers are preying on unsuspecting people who are eager to receive protection against COVID-19. Top federal agencies including the FBI, FDA and the Federal Trade Commission, have issued warnings to consumers to be on the lookout for COVID-19 vaccine scams aimed at stealing personal and financial information.
“People should be extremely vigilant and wary of vaccination offers that don’t come from trusted sources like their doctor, healthcare provider or local health department,” said Bob Riney, President of Healthcare Operations and Chief Operating Officer of Henry Ford Health System. “The plain fact is that there is no charge to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, which is being paid for by the federal government. You can’t pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine, or to get early access, and you don’t need to provide sensitive personal information over the phone. Anyone promising that is trying to steal your personal or financial information, and very likely, your money.”
Riney says people should be especially wary of any of these warning signs that an offer for a COVID-19 vaccine is a hoax:
- Advertisements or offers for early access to a vaccine upon payment of a deposit or fee
- Requests asking you to pay out of pocket to obtain the vaccine or to put your name on a COVID-19 vaccine waiting list
- Offers to undergo additional medical testing or procedures when obtaining a vaccine
- Offers to sell and/or ship doses of a vaccine, domestically or internationally, in exchange for payment of a deposit or fee
- Unsolicited emails, telephone calls, or texts from someone claiming to be from a medical office, insurance company, or COVID-19 vaccine center requesting personal, financial and/or medical information to determine your eligibility to participate in clinical vaccine trials or obtain the vaccine
- Claims of FDA approval for a vaccine that cannot be verified
- Ads for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online, or from unsolicited/unknown sources
- A phone call or email telling you the government or government officials require you to receive a COVID-19 vaccine
Riney goes on to say that COVID-19 vaccination scams can also come in the form of someone pretending to be a healthcare worker. “Our team members would never call to ask for your sensitive personal and financial information. Anyone who receives a call like this from someone who identifies themselves as being from Henry Ford should just hang up.”
Patients can also report suspect scams online at ReportFraud.ftc.gov, consumerresources.org, the consumer website of the National Association of Attorneys General.
Here are a few useful tips and resources to avoid COVID-19 vaccine-related scams:
- Go to henryford.com for information and answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Go to the State of Michigan’s Covid-19 Vaccine website for information about where to get vaccinated.
- Check the FDA’s website for current information about vaccine emergency use authorizations.
- Don’t share your personal or health information with anyone other than known and trusted medical professionals.
- Check your medical bills and insurance explanation of benefits (EOBs) for any suspicious claims and promptly report any errors to your health insurance provider.
To date, Henry Ford Health System has administered more than 56,000 first and second doses of vaccine to Henry Ford team members, Henry Ford patients 65 and older who have certain high-risk conditions, community-based healthcare workers not employed by a health system (independent doctors, home care specialists and others in the 1A criteria) and essential workers.
Henry Ford has contacted more than 600,000 current patients to alert them that they will receive a special message when their time comes to be vaccinated with instructions on how to make an appointment. They are being contacted by text, email or phone call based on the contact information they have provided to Henry Ford. Patients no longer need to check MyChart for making an appointment.
All vaccinations are by appointment only. The vaccine is not available through physician offices, emergency departments or by calling the Henry Ford call center. As vaccine supplies increase, Henry Ford will be able to offer more appointments and expand the number of vaccination sites throughout its service area.
Existing Henry Ford patients who do not have a MyChart account are still encouraged to register at henryford.com/mychart. Having a MyChart account will streamline the notification and scheduling process for existing patients and new patients.
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About Henry Ford Health System
Founded in 1915 by Henry Ford himself, Henry Ford Health System is a non-profit, integrated health system committed to improving people’s lives through excellence in the science and art of healthcare and healing. Henry Ford Health System includes six hospitals including Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit; Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals; Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital; Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital; Henry Ford Allegiance in Jackson, MI; and Henry Ford Kingswood Hospital – an inpatient psychiatric hospital.
Henry Ford Health System also includes Henry Ford Medical Group: Henry Ford Physician Network; more than 250 outpatient facilities; Henry Ford Pharmacy; Henry Ford OptimEyes; and other healthcare services. Our not-for-profit health plan, Health Alliance Plan – HAP – provides health coverage for more than 540,000 people.