SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is reminding everyone to be aware of scammers who are trying to take advantage of those who are accessing the COVID-19 vaccine.

Email phishing scams are offering recipients the chance to “preregister” with a public health department to receive a vaccine.

Scammers are creating websites similar to Massachusetts’ official vaccine appointment website in an attempt to collect health insurance and financial information.

“What they’ve done is change one letter of the website name so that it looks almost identical to the legitimate state website,” said Jennifer Stewart, Senior Director for Fraud Investigation and Prevention at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Stewart also recommends not to click on email links but instead visit www.mass.gov or a health care provider’s website and navigate from there to be safe.

While health care providers may reach out when an individual is eligible to be vaccinated, they won’t reach out offering early access to the vaccine, they also will not make requests for payments or ask for health insurance and financial information.

“Right now there is no preregistration in Massachusetts and any site offering that is a scam. The federal government has bought the vaccine, insurers are paying for administration for their members, you can’t pay to cut the line and get early access in Massachusetts. If that’s what you’re being told, that’s a scam,” said Stewart.

Federal agencies also have warned of vaccine-related scams, including fake ads for vaccines on social media platforms.

Stewart also reminded Blue Cross members that their health insurance will cover the cost of vaccination with no out-of-pocket costs. 

Medicare will cover vaccine administration for Medicare Advantage and Medex members when administered by any clinician who accepts Medicare.

Blue Cross members with questions can call the Blue Cross COVID-19 helpline at 1-888-372-1970. 

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office encourages anyone with questions or concerns to call at 617-727-8400 or visit: https://www.mass.gov/how-to/file-a-consumer-complaint.

To report a COVID-19 fraud, call 1-800-CALL-FBI or 1-800-HHS-TIPS.