Police departments across the country are issuing warnings about scammers trying to trick people into reserving a COVID-19 vaccine over the phone. The callers claim to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ask for peoples’ credit cards and Social Security numbers in order to complete the transactions.
The Daly City Police Department called out the hoax on Twitter, saying: “There is no vaccine reserve program, and the CDC is not offering anything of the sort. Do not fall prey!”
New scam: People are claiming to be from the CDC offering to let people "reserve a vaccine for the COVID-19" with a credit card and/or social security number. There is no vaccine reserve program, and the CDC is not offering anything of the sort. Do not fall prey!
— Daly City Police (@DalyCityPD) March 17, 2020
The Sheriff’s Department in Lucas Country, Ohio, issued a similar statement on Facebook. “People are texting or emailing claiming to be with the CDC and offering to let people ‘reserve a vaccine for the COVID-19,’” they wrote. “Anyone receiving such a call should not under any circumstances give the caller any personal information or money. Thank you.”
Right now, there is no vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. While scientists are actively working on developing one, the process could take between a year and 18 months.
When it comes out, the news will likely come through an official statement from the government — not through a phone call from someone who says they’re from the CDC. In general, any time someone calls to ask for your credit card or Social Security number, be suspicious.