Beware of COVID-19 vaccine scams

Brownwood Bulletin
Courtney Parrott

Scammers use public health emergencies as opportunities for new fraud schemes.

These fraudsters rapidly alter their tactics and adapt their schemes to the changing landscape, and we anticipate that they will leverage the pending COVID-19 vaccine to prey on unsuspecting Medicare beneficiaries.

Stay informed and protect yourself against COVID 19 vaccines Scams. When in doubt contact the Texas Senior Medicare Patrol.

• You likely will not need to pay anything out of pocket to get the vaccine during this  public health emergency.

• You cannot pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine.

• You cannot pay to get early access to the vaccine.

• No one from Medicare or the Health Department will contact you.

• No one from a vaccine distribution site or health care payer, like a private insurance company, will call you asking for your Social Security number or your credit card or bank account information to sign you up to get the vaccine.

• Beware of providers offering other products, treatments, or medicines to prevent the virus. Check with your health  care provider before paying for or receiving any COVID-19-related treatment.

• If you get a call, text, email — or even someone knocking on your door — claiming they can get you early access to the vaccine, STOP. That’s a scam.

• For Medicare coverage questions, contact your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) at or 1-877-839-2675.

How Your Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Can Help

Your local SMP is ready to provide you with the information you need to PROTECT yourself from Medicare fraud, errors, and abuse; DETECT potential fraud, errors, and abuse; and REPORT your concerns.

SMPs and their trained volunteers help educate and empower Medicare beneficiaries in the fight against health care fraud. Your SMP can help you with your questions, concerns, or complaints about potential fraud and abuse issues. It also can provide information and educational presentations.

Contact the Texas Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) for help at 1-888-341-6187

The Texas Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) operates under a grant administered through the U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL).