COVID-19 vaccine scams are affecting Southwest Florida

The race to get a vaccine has become a race to scam those hoping to keep themselves safe.

People have been on their phones all day for the past few days to get one of the few appointments available. Dennis LaCourse from Englewood got through.

“Someone came on the line and asked all the basic questions,” Lacourse said. “Name, date of birth, address. where do you live and moves right into, you’re using a Visa card… and I got suspicious.”

Something about that didn’t feel right to him. “We’ll need the number and the expiration date and I said ‘I’m not telling you that and she says we need that to get the vaccine,'” said LaCourse.

“I said ‘the vaccine is free so I’m not giving you that,'” he added.

Dennis LaCourse hung up. But, scammers know that people are anxious to get the vaccine so they are moving in swiftly. Bryan Oglesby is with the Better Business Bureau of West Florida.

“They see this as an opportunity to really take advantage of consumers who are stressed out or emotional. we want answers now. we want access to the vaccine now,” said Oglesby.

There are warnings from local, state and federal officials on this to stay safe. DOH-Collier Public Information Officer Kristine Hollingsworth said this in a statement:

“The Florida Department of Health in Collier County (DOH-Collier) is
aware of Eventbrite scams throughout the state. Please note: DOH-Collier will not ask
for your social security number, credit card information, or bank information.
Furthermore, DOH-Collier is not charging for the vaccine. If a site you are using is
asking for payment information, please DO NOT provide this information and report the

Do not give personal info on call unless you initiated it. Don’t click on any unknown links and never pay with gift cards or way money.

“This is the time we want to remain calm, we want to remain diligent. we want to verify the information we are seeking out,” Oglesby said.

You can’t pay to get your name to the top of the list to get a vaccine either. No legitimate agency set up to supply COVID-19 vaccines is going to ask for your financial information.

Reporter:Rich Kolko
Writer:Drew Hill
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