Thursday, April 18, 2024

COVID vaccines are coming, and so are scammers taking advantage of people’s fears

One step closer: Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE have applied for a FDA emergency use authorization for their coronavirus vaccine. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Unsplash)
(WYDaily file/ Courtesy of Unsplash)

No matter what the situation, scammers will go to great lengths in taking advantage of people.

That’s why law enforcement agencies are vigilant in warning people about these thieves – especially now with another “opportunity” on the way for these criminals to hunt for victims.

The coronavirus.

As the country moves closer toward having an FDA-approved vaccine for COVID-19, Attorney General Mark Herring is urging Virginians to be wary of any vaccine-related scams.

Scams could include selling medications, treatments or vaccines that purport to prevent or cure the coronavirus.

“Unfortunately, scammers will take advantage of Virginians’ excitement over the prospect of an effective vaccine just to make a buck. I know Virginians are tired and ready to get their lives back to normal, but I want to urge everyone to be wary of any too good to be true COVID vaccine offers,” Herring said in a news release. “Once distribution begins there will be strict protocols for receiving it. I want to urge all Virginians to remain vigilant and make sure you do your research before giving your money to anyone purporting to be selling a COVID vaccine or treatment.”

A few things to remember and look out for to avoid becoming the victim of a COVID vaccine-related scam:

  • Always make sure that you consult a medical professional or a doctor in order to get the COVID-19 vaccine or treatment
  • Do not buy any kind of COVID-19 vaccine or treatment over the internet or through an online pharmacy
  • Make sure that your doctor or physician is approved to administer any kind of COVID-19 vaccine or treatment
  • Ignore any unsolicited or “too good to be true” offers for vaccines, miracle cures, or treatments
  • Be wary of any online ads you may see for COVID-19 vaccines or treatments on social media
  • Do not respond to any unsolicited emails, text messages, or calls that are offering any kind of COVID-19 vaccine or treatment
  • Always talk with your doctor or another healthcare professional before you try any product claiming to treat, cure, or prevent COVID-19
  • Head to govfor clear and concise information on COVID-19. Additionally, visit the FDA’s Resources page to find out about treatments in development

Virginians who have any questions or concerns or believe they may have been the victim of a COVID vaccine related scam should reach out to Herring’s Consumer Protection Section:


John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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