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Beware of scammers promising priority on vaccine

BBB of North Alabama says scammers are promising Medicare beneficiaries priority on the vaccine.

DECATUR, Ala. — While we wait to receive the vaccine, beware of scammers promising to give you priority for one.

"Medicare fraud is rampant, and it always is," said Better Business Bureau North Alabama, Regional Vice President Tricia Pruitt.

Pruitt said to be on alert for scammers promising Medicare beneficiaries first dibs on the vaccine. "I have heard one report of a text message. And it was very simple. It was like, "to get your vaccine, click here," she said.

Pruitt says your Medicare provider would not ask you certain questions. "They're not going to send you a text. They're not going to call and ask for personal information over the phone like your Medicare number, or your social security number," she said.

There are also some other red flags to look out for. "If there's an email or a text with a link, that's a red flag. And if they ask for any personal information, that's a definite red flag," said Pruitt.

A text or email promising priority for a vaccine should stop you in your tracks. You should also know there is no charge associated with the vaccine for beneficiaries.

"There will be no charge for the vaccine. That's an important point. If they ask you for money, that is a definite red flag. It's a scam," said Pruitt.

Pruitt said reports show callers have requested $200.

As far as checking who will receive the vaccine, Pruitt says to check reputable sources. "There's the CDC, the Alabama Department of Public Health," said Pruitt.

Dr. Karen Landers, Assistant State Health Officer for ADPH, said only a certain group of people will receive the vaccine when the first batch arrives.

"We're looking at 'Phase 1a right now which is healthcare providers, and long-term care residents," said Landers.