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Delawareans should be vigilant of scams surrounding COVID-19 vaccine

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media

Many citizens are eager to take the coronavirus vaccine, and scammers may be taking advantage.
As distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine ramps up, Beebe Healthcare is reminding the community to be aware of fraudulent emails, texts and calls.

Tarik Ghabra is the senior IT security analyst for Beebe and says the holiday season paired with the pandemic and the release of the vaccine has created a perfect storm for scammers.

“It’s like scam central right now, so you really have to be careful and you really have to stay on your toes when you get phone calls or emails or text messages from numbers and email addresses that you don’t immediately recognize,” Ghabra said.

These messages ask consumers to secure their spot to get the vaccine and usually include a link which installs a virus or prompts users for personal information. 

“It kinda all comes down to money,” Ghabra said. “Sometimes they can steal your identity if they get enough information, compromising people’s email accounts and email addresses and social media accounts.”

Retirees who aren’t technologically savvy are some of the most common targets. But consumers should never have to pay for the vaccine.

“If you stop and think and you have any suspicion whatsoever, just delete the text message, delete the email, hang up on the phone and whatever you do don’t click on anything in the email or text message, don’t reply and don’t call any numbers back that they ask you to call.”

Ghabra says there is a lot of misinformation circulating about the distribution and validity of the vaccine. Trustworthy sources include federal agencies, healthcare providers and studies based in science.  

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