Be on the lookout for COVID-19 vaccine scams: Laws prohibit sale or advertising of fake COVID-19 vaccinations

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    Attorney General Phil Weiser’s office

    Attorney General Phil Weiser recently released an advisory warning Coloradans about potential COVID-19 vaccine scams and vowing that the state will enforce laws prohibiting fraudulent or deceptive sales of fake COVID-19 vaccinations and cures.

    Currently, only two vaccines are FDA-approved, with more anticipated: the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for use in individuals 16 years and older and the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine for use in individuals 18 years and older. 

    “We are committed to ensuring the medical safety and security of all Coloradans,” said Weiser. “As such, we will take seriously the sale or advertising of fake COVID-19 vaccinations and we will bring legal action against those who engage in such illegal conduct.”

    The Colorado Consumer Protection Act safeguards Colorado residents from unfair and deceptive trade practices by persons and businesses. Selling or advertising to sell a fake COVID-19 vaccination or cure or an appointment to receive a vaccination is punishable by a civil penalty of up to $20,000 per violation or $50,000 per violation against an older person.

    Below are some basic tips to identify vaccine-related scams:

    • Do not respond to unsolicited emails, text messages, advertisements or telephone calls offering to sell COVID-19 vaccines or other cures or treatment.

    • Do not pay for a COVID-19 vaccine. You will not have to pay for the vaccine itself, although you may be charged a small fee for administration of the vaccine — any offer to “sell” a vaccine is a scam.

    • Beware of any attempt to sell you an appointment for the approved vaccine.

    • Before responding to communications from a doctor, pharmacy, health department or other health care practitioner, verify the source of that communication. 

    • Talk to your doctor to receive accurate information on when a vaccine will be available for you.

    • Above all, do not rely on unsubstantiated claims from strangers about COVID-19 vaccine availability. 

    For more information about potential scams and how to avoid them, and laws prohibiting the sale of fake COVID-19 vaccines, go to bit.ly/VaccineAdvisory.

    If you believe you have been victimized by a COVID-19 vaccine scam, witness a retailer sell or attempt to sell a vaccine not approved by the FDA, or witness other such suspicious activity, please report it to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office at stopfraudcolorado.gov.