CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Scammers have been using the pandemic as an excuse to perpetrate fraud. Now that the COVID-19 Vaccine is starting to be distributed, crooks are using it to fuel even more scams.
The Valley Program for Aging Services says a certain population of people will be targeted the most: seniors.
“This is a time that this is a perfect opportunity for people with less than good intentions to try to take advantage of vulnerable older adults,” Director of Development Beth Bland said.
She says there is no wait list or early access to the vaccine.
“Basically if somebody is calling you, it’s a scam,” she said. “The Health Department will be publicly announcing when various groups are eligible for the vaccine and they will provide information about where you can go to get the vaccine. There is not a charge for the vaccine.”
Bland says VPAS is taking a proactive approach to preventing scams to keep the community safe.
“As an organization that works to empower older adults we want to make sure that they have the proper information that helps them be able to tell a scam from non scam and so, again, the more information that we can get out there I think the better,” she said.
If you believe you are getting scammed there’s a few things you should do.
“The very first thing you should do if you find yourself in this situation is hang up the phone, shut the door, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to notify your local law enforcement and just let them know that you’re getting these scams and then that way they can inform other people in the community,” Bland said.
VPAS wants everyone to be safe from potential scams, not just the older community members it usually serves.
“It is for not just older adults in our community but our whole community, because if one part of our community is hurting it hurts the rest of us and so we really want to protect the interests of older adults but also protect the interests of our whole community,” Bland said.