Seniors urged to beware of vaccine scam

COLUMBIA — The top U.S. attorney in South Carolina is warning residents to be on “high alert” for scams related to the coronavirus vaccine.

U.S. Attorney Peter McCoy Jr. issued a news release recently warning that since the beginning of December, the Federal Trade Commission has received more than 250,000 COVID-19 related consumer complaints. Two-thirds of the complaints have involved fraud or identity theft.

“Having already seen supply scams, provider scams, economic impact scams, phishing scams and even charity scams related to COVID-19 across the country, every South Carolinian should be extra cautious for the possibility of phony websites and other outreach claiming early access to the vaccine,” McCoy said. “Everyone, particularly seniors and their caretakers, should be on high alert for fraudsters seeking to take advantage of their most vulnerable neighbors.”

McCoy said it’s important for people to know you can’t pay to put your name on a list to get the COVID-19 vaccine or get early access to receive it. No legitimate vaccine distribution site will call asking for your Social Security, banking or credit card numbers, McCoy said.

Anyone who believes they’ve been a victim of a scam or fraud should contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-720-5721 or online at

“Along with law enforcement partners, the United States Attorney’s Office will work to identify, investigate and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those who seek to defraud their neighbors during this pandemic,” McCoy said.