AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - According to the Better Business Bureau of Amarillo, scams in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine are increasing nationwide.
People are receiving text messages, emails and calls of people saying they are scheduling for residents to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Oftentimes they will ask for money to schedule an appointment.
The BBB says the city of Amarillo or the vaccination clinic will never call you, as the walk-in clinic is available and free to everyone.
“They’re not going to contact you first and say ‘hey we have the vaccine.’ If you’ve been to the civic center you know there’s plenty of people there who know there’s a vaccine and the health department is not lacking for people to give the vaccine to,” explained CEO and President of the BBB of Amarillo, Janna Kiehl. “So they’re not going to call you... they’re going to put it out in news sources, they’re going to put it out on their website.”
The organization adds that caller I.D.’s can also be fake.
“There are some that will be scared into giving info or they will think it’s the authorities because spoofing is happening on [their] phone and the call comes across from someone, say the City of Amarillo or someone from the BBB so you answer it and you think that’s who it is,” continued Kiehl.
The BBB of Amarillo also advises against sharing your vaccination card on social media.
The vaccination cards contain your full name, birthday, vaccination site and vaccination date.
Scammers may use this information and pretend to be the authorities to ask for additional information, like your social security number.
“It has some information about your birth date and scammers can get the info and use it against you,” said Kiehl. “What happens with identity theft is they can take out credit in your name, they can get a job in your name, they can even use your SSN to get your social security benefits. So it’s very very difficult to get past identify theft once it happened to you and its a crime that’s committed against you that only you can clean up.”
Your birthday or location may also be the final piece of information a scammer needed to steal your identity, or use it to pose as the authorities.
“Many times you’ll find people who say they’ll have your information or have a part of your info they have from another source. So people get scared and really think they’re talking to the authority who the caller claims to be, but they’re really not they’re talking to a scam artist,” continued Kiehl.
The walk-in vaccination clinic at the Downtown Civic Center will not call, text or email you.
They do not charge a fee and will not ask for your social security number.
With Amarillo leading the country in vaccination distribution, the BBB worries scams happening here have gone unreported.
To report a scam and help law enforcement stop scammers, visit the BBB Scam Tracker.