4 types of COVID-19 vaccine scams circulating in Michigan and how they work

Dana Nessel says residents should not buy treatment or vaccines online

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel at a Dec. 15, 2020, COVID-19 press briefing.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel at a Dec. 15, 2020, COVID-19 press briefing. (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s attorney general outlined four specific types of COVID-19 vaccine scams circulating in the state and explained how they’re targeting residents.

READ: 9 major takeaways from Whitmer’s COVID-19 briefing on Dec. 15

Attorney General Dana Nessel joined Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during Tuesday’s briefing to warn Michiganders about scammers looking to capitalize on the COVID-19 vaccine excitement.

“Let me give you an example of some common scams for people to be aware of,” Nessel said.

She listed the following:

  • Promises to get the vaccine very quickly.
  • So-called treatments that include pills, herbal teas or essential oils.
  • Personal testimonials that are given instead of scientific evidence about one vaccine versus another.
  • Social media messages, texts or emails about qualifying for clinical trials that claim you can make money.

“Advertisers offer thousands of dollars to participate, but then what they’ll do is they’ll ask you for money or they’ll ask you for personal information up front, and then they’ll include a link for you to download a pamphlet or whatever, which will then open the door to malware on whatever device you’re using,” Nessel said.

Nessel advised residents not to buy treatment or vaccines online.

“Fake vaccine treatments, test kits and clinical trials are just some of those examples of what scammers are going to be putting out there,” she said.

Anyone who gets offered these type of fake opportunities should call a doctor or contact the Attorney General’s Office at 517-335-7622.

Nessel also warned shoppers about an increase in online shopping scams as we move toward the holiday season.

Michigan expects the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to join the Pfizer vaccine in being approved in the next week.

The first of Michigan’s front line workers to receive the vaccine got their initial dose Monday.

Doctors at University of Michigan Hospital received a shipment of the vaccines from UPS and talked about the historic moment, which came just 11 months after the start of the pandemic.

“It was a package of hope,” U of M Health System President Dr. David Spahlinger said. “It was a package of hope that we are going to end this, save lives.”

Michigan reported 4,730 new COVID-19 cases and 183 additional deaths (71 from a Vital Records review) on Tuesday, bringing the state totals to 442,715 cases and 10,935 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Michigan AG issues consumer alert amid influx COVID-19 vaccine scams
Michigan AG issues consumer alert amid influx COVID-19 vaccine scams

About the Author:

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.