One of the secondary threats over the last year has undoubtedly been the spread of misinformation regarding COVID-19.

The onset of the pandemic saw us receiving conflicting information from a range of sources of varying legitimacy, causing confusion among the public. And with the vaccination beginning to be distributed to Minnesotans, verifying our sources of information is just as crucial now as it was a year ago.

Both the FBI and The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General have issued public warnings concerning COVID vaccine-related scams that have cropped up in recent months. There are very real online threats hoping to prey on the anxiety and vulnerability COVID has left us all feeling.

It’s been reported that fraudsters are using telemarketing calls, emails, text messages, social media platforms, and even door-to-door visits in order to collect personal information and finances from individuals while promising to provide a vaccination. One common scam reported is receiving emails, texts and other online messaging that claim they can deliver doses of the vaccinations within days for as little as $150.

It is important to know the facts regarding how legitimate healthcare providers distribute the vaccination. Knowing these facts may help you identify how fraudulent sources would otherwise try to solicit information. Some of the most current and relevant information about the vaccine from both the FBI and the Minnesota Department of Health are:

  • You will never be asked to be pay out-of-pocket for the vaccine. It will be provided for free.
  • Public health officials will never ask for your bank account, credit card, or social security number.
  • The vaccine will not be shipped or delivered to your doorstep.

Any source contradicting these points should immediately arouse suspicion. According to the FBI, other red flags to look out for are:

  • You are asked to pay out-of-pocket to get the vaccine.
  • You are asked to pay to put your name on vaccine waiting list or to get early access.
  • Advertisements for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online, or from unsolicited/unknown sources.
  • Marketers offering to sell or ship doses of the vaccine for payment.

Knowledge and mindfulness are our best defense against these predatory scams. Keep your guard up when receiving phone calls, texts, and emails from unknown sources and never give out your personal information in response to unsolicited messages.

Official government sites such as the can provide information on official providers, as well as what to expect when receiving the vaccine. To see more tips on avoiding COVID scams or report fraud, visit

When can you receive a vaccine? You can visit to check the status of vaccine distribution and sign up to receive updates on when you may be able to be vaccinated. 

Waiting for official information regarding the distribution of the vaccine can be confusing and sometimes frustrating. However, the initial rollout we’ve seen, along with the recent declining trend in new COVID cases in Minnesota is still cause for optimism and celebration. Stay vigilant, but remain hopeful.

Deb Taylor is the CEO of Minnetonka-based Senior Community Services, a nonprofit that helps older adults and caregivers navigate aging to maintain independence and quality of life. The website is