Authorities bracing for new surge of scams targeting people desperate to get their lives back


(WIVB)–For many folks, the COVID vaccine is a matter of life-and-death.

While government officials are rolling the vaccines out in phases, you might have questions about when and where it is your turn and the low-lifes are already baiting their traps.

Americans are getting their vaccines.

We know it is the frontline workers, the heroes, and folks in nursing homes. Next, in New York, they are calling it Phase II.

Governor Cuomo says, “When do we get to Phase II allocation? Right now we are talking about  probably late January for Phase II.”

But after Phase II, who is next, and how do you get yours? 

“We know from everything we have been told, these are the people who are getting it first.”

Melanie McGovern of the Better Business Bureau told us, authorities are gearing up for a wave of scams offering bogus vaccines, chances to move up in the order of receiving a vaccine, or phony COVID tests, for a fee.

The Niagara County Sheriff’s Office has posted useful information for avoiding vaccine scams on its Facebook page that you cannot pay to get on a list for a COVID vaccine or jump the line to get access to it.

Or if you get a call, text, or email offering an inside track to the vaccine, it is a scam.

“They are relying on people not knowing what is going on. So the best thing, and we talk about this with everything, educate yourself, know how the process works,” McGovern said.

Just as with any telemarketing call, text, or email, McGovern says protect your accounts.

“Your bank account, your Social Security, your Medicare, any kind of medical ID. Treat it like it is your Social Security Number and do not give it to people who call you on the phone. Make sure you verify the source of that call first.”

For most of us, our turn in line for a vaccine could be months away so health officials say, practice that good COVID hygiene. Wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, keep your distance, and keep a tight grip on your wallet.

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