SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – COVID-19 scams continue to impact western Massachusetts. People with 413 area codes are receiving calls about available vaccine appointments.
Scammers will try anything to get their hands on your confidential data, and the pandemic has created many new opportunities for scams.
“I don’t qualify for the vaccine yet, but the amount of misinformation out there telling me a should or shouldn’t go to a place, it’s really hard to keep track of,” Joe Lastowski from Springfield said.
The latest source of fraud coming through your phone. Scammers are using a spoofing device that allows them to use numbers associated with actual vaccine clinics, making them easy to fall victim to.
Earlier this week Springfield Consumer Information tweeted out a warning to residents to watch out for the scam.
Milagros Johnson is a consumer expert and the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Consumer Information. She said the anxiety surrounding getting a COVID-19 vaccine appointment makes people more vulnerable.
“It sounds or it looks to them like a real COVID vaccine clinic, saying you have an appointment scheduled,” Johnson said
Johnson said to let calls from numbers you don’t recognize go to voicemail, “Then you make an informed decision, instead of being caught on the spot.”
Other ways to determine if a call is a scam is by the number of times they call; more than twice and chances are, it’s fake. You can also ask the caller what information they have about the appointment, if it’s a scam, it will probably be vague.
Jason Houle from Chicopee said he’s been seeing all sorts of scams having to do with the pandemic.
“It’s the world we live in right now, people would rather work harder to scam something than to go to a job and get a paycheck,” Houle said.
Legitimate organizations will never ask for your private information over the phone. If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, you can call the Mayor’s Office of Consumer Information at 413- 787-6437.