Health

Polk County Health Department and Polk County Sheriff’s Office Warn Against COVID-19 Vaccine Scams

March 1, 2021

(Des Moines, IA) – The Polk County Health Department and the Polk County Sherriff’s Office have been alerted to several COVID-19 vaccine scams in our community.

“The Polk County Health Department has been alerted to individuals creating false ID badges to impersonate individuals in the current vaccine tier to get vaccinated,” said Helen Eddy, Polk County Health Department Director. “This is not only illegal but you are taking away vaccine doses from individuals who greatly need them.”

According to the Polk County Sherriff’s Office, creating ID badges to impersonate employment falls under 715A.2 Forgery. It states: “Makes, completes, executes, authenticates, issues, or transfers a writing so that it purports to be the act of another who did not authorize that act, or so that it purports to have been executed at a time or place or in a numbered sequence other than was in fact the case, or so that it purports to be a copy of an original when no such original existed.”

“We encourage the community to make smart decisions and think of others,” said Eddy. “If you know someone who does not have access to a computer or whose first language is not English, help them out rather than committing crimes to get the vaccine.”

In additional to creating false documentation to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the community needs to be aware of individuals posing as health officials from health departments trying to schedule your appointment. Practice the following tips to keep you and your family safe from scammers:

  • Legitimate contact tracers will ONLY need health information and NOT money or personal financial information.
  • Don’t respond to texts, emails or calls about checks from the government.
  • Ignore offers for vaccinations and miracle treatments or cures. Scammers are selling products to treat or prevent COVID-19 without proof that they work.
  • Be wary of ads for test kits. Many test kits being advertised have NOT been approved by the FDA and aren’t necessarily accurate.
  • Hang up on robocalls. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from low-priced health insurance to work-at-home schemes.
  • Watch for emails claiming to be from the CDC or WHO. Use sites like coronavirus.gov and usa.gov/coronavirus. Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know or trust.

 

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COVID-19 call center for seniors (65 years and older) WITHOUT computer or internet access, please call 515 323-5221 Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM.