The good news, as Ellen Klem of the Oregon Department of Justice commented recently, is that the Oregon Department of Justice has received few complaints about vaccine-related scams…so far. As vaccines are being distributed more widely, Klem said she expects there to be more of them attempted.
Since the novel coronavirus poses the greatest danger to the elderly, who are least likely to be sophisticated in connection with computers and most anxious to resume spending time with family, a vaccine scam is a choice opportunity for a scammer. “I’m very worried that they’re going to be further victimized by the desire to have this very coveted vaccine and to get out there and hug their grandkids and I don’t blame them for one second,” Klem said. “But, I guess, what I would like to say is, I urge caution.”
As ODoJ’s Director of Consumer Outreach, Klem is trying hard to warn senior Oregonians to be wary of calls from strangers promising to help them cut in line for vaccines with a pitch such as, “If you give me $50 and give me all of your personal information including your social security number, your date of birth, your address, I can get you an appointment.”
If you receive a phone call like this, or are approached via other media, Klem urges Oregonians to contact the ODoJ’s consumer hotline at 1-877-877-9392 on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., or to visit oregonconsumer.gov.
By John M. Burt