Circulating flyer with misleading COVID-19 vaccine information debunked

Coronavirus Updates

SALT LAKE CITY — (ABC4 News) — The State of Utah COVID-19 Response is giving Utahns a heads up about an inaccurate flyer that has circulated recently.

According to Utah officials, there is a flyer circulating with false and misleading information asking people to wear a certain mask depending on their vaccination status.

Utah health officials say there are no restrictions based on whether someone chooses to be immunized or not.

“In no way are travel, lockdowns, entering businesses, or your right to vote tied to your choice of receiving COVID-19 vaccines,” as stated by the State of Utah COVID-19 Response. “The state of Utah will never require or ask you to wear a certain color of mask to prove you’ve been vaccinated.”

Federal agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, CMS are warning the public about several emerging fraud schemes related to COVID-19 vaccines.

According to officials with the FBI, federal agencies have received complaints of scammers using the public’s interest in COVID-19 vaccines to obtain personally identifiable information or money through various schemes.

“We continue to work diligently with law enforcement partners and the private sector to identify cyber threats and fraud in all forms,” as stated by the FBI.

The FBI released the following warnings:

The public should be aware of the following potential indicators of fraudulent activity:

  • Advertisements or offers for early access to a vaccine upon payment of a deposit or fee
  • Requests asking you to pay out of pocket to obtain the vaccine or to put your name on a COVID-19 vaccine waiting list
  • Offers to undergo additional medical testing or procedures when obtaining a vaccine
  • Marketers offering to sell and/or ship doses of a vaccine, domestically or internationally, in exchange for payment of a deposit or fee
  • Unsolicited emails, telephone calls, or personal contact from someone claiming to be from a medical office, insurance company, or COVID-19 vaccine center requesting personal and/or medical information to determine recipients’ eligibility to participate in clinical vaccine trials or obtain the vaccine
  • Claims of FDA approval for a vaccine that cannot be verified
  • Advertisements for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online, or from unsolicited/unknown sources
  • Individuals contacting you in person, by phone, or by email to tell you the government or government officials require you to receive a COVID-19 vaccine

Tips to avoid COVID-19 vaccine-related fraud:

  • Consult your state’s health department website for up-to-date information about authorized vaccine distribution channels and only obtaining a vaccine through such channels.
  • Check the FDA’s website (fda.gov) for current information about vaccine emergency use authorizations.
  • Consult your primary care physician before undergoing any vaccination.
  • Don’t share your personal or health information with anyone other than known and trusted medical professionals.
  • Check your medical bills and insurance explanation of benefits (EOBs) for any suspicious claims and promptly reporting any errors to your health insurance provider.
  • Follow guidance and recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other trusted medical professionals.

Anyone who believes they might have fallen victim to COVID-19-vaccine-related fraud is asked to immediately report it to the FBI (ic3.govtips.fbi.gov, or 1-800-CALL-FBI) or HHS OIG (tips.hhs.gov or 1-800-HHS-TIPS).

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