FBI Portland
Portland Media Office
(503) 460-8060
March 9, 2021

Oregon FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against COVID-19 Vaccine Scams

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. Today: Building a digital defense against COVID-19 vaccine scams.

Oregon and Washington are seeing increasing numbers of vaccine doses compared to where we were a few months ago… but demand is still far outstripping supply. That sets up a situation where bad actors can use your anxiety to steal your identity and your money.

Here are some warning signs:

  • Ads or offers for early access to a vaccine if you pay a deposit or fee.
  • You are asked to pay out-of-pocket to get the vaccine or to put your name on a COVID-19 vaccine waiting list. In any case, you should not have to pay for your vaccine.
  • You see claims of FDA approval for a vaccine that cannot be verified.
  • You receive unsolicited ads from unknown companies for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, or online. Any contact you get should be from a known medical provider, health department, or relevant government agency.

Here’s how to protect yourself:

  • Consult your state or county’s health department website for up-to-date information about authorized vaccine distribution channels and only obtain a vaccine through such channels. In Oregon, https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19 is a trusted resource. In Washington, https://coronavirus.wa.gov/ is a trusted resource.
  • Check the FDA’s website (www.FDA.gov) and the Centers for Disease Control’s website (www.CDC.gov) for the latest national information about the coronavirus and the vaccines.
  • Don’t share your personal or health information with anyone other than known and trusted medical professionals.

If you believe you are a victim of an online scam, you should report the incident to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your FBI local office.