Q: My neighbor told me she received an email claiming that she could obtain an exemption and get the COVID vaccination before her age group becomes eligible.
She is on Medicare but is only 65 years old. She tends to be a little gullible.
I convinced her not to do anything until I checked this out. Is this possible?
A: Scammers will take advantage of any opportunity to defraud vulnerable individuals.
The past year of living under the shadow of COVID-19 has left many of us feeling threatened and uncertain about the future. This environment is ideal fodder for numerous schemes to steal money or personal information, especially from older adults.
Pay special attention to any of the following scenarios.
No one from a legitimate source will call you directly to ask for Social Security numbers, credit card information, or bank account information about signing up for a vaccination slot.
If you are asked to pay out of pocket for vaccination, this is a scam. The vaccine cost will be covered for Medicare beneficiaries. Some anxious individuals could fall for the promise of negotiating early access to the vaccine, but this is not an option.
Other scam red flags are people stating, for a fee, that they can put your name on a waiting list or vendors selling doses of the vaccine.
Federal and state governments are responsible for the distribution of the approved COVID vaccinations. Other scammers may offer to take you to get a vaccine, but you should only go with a trusted family member, friend or caregiver.
If you receive any contact by phone, email, letter, or text message that appears questionable, please report this to the Massachusetts Senior Medicare Patrol Program’s Report-A-Scam at 978-946-1243 or email ReportAScam@MASMP.org.
Are you struggling to care for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our experienced staff is available to help. Visit us online at www.ESMV.org for more information. You can also call us at 1-800-892-0890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore.