Homeland Security on alert for COVID vaccine scams: Here are red flags to watch for

‘We have a team of agents scouring the dark web’

Homeland Security on alert as coronavirus vaccine rolls out
Homeland Security on alert as coronavirus vaccine rolls out

DETROIT – The COVID-19 vaccine is being administered all across the country.

It’s been a busy time for Homeland Security as they work to stop foreign agents, as well as local scammers, from targeting victims with a COVID-19 vaccine scam.

Even before the first trucks started rolling out with the COVID-19 vaccine last week, special agents from Detroit’s Homeland Security office were already at work.

Vance Callender is the Special Agent in Charge with Detroit Homeland Security said.

“In Detroit, we have a team of agents scouring the dark web for criminals,” Callender said. “We are worried individuals will be coming into the U.S. bringing fake vials and vaccines -- things that get passed off as a vaccine -- and we don’t know what it is.”

Red flags to watch for

Callender said if someone is reaching out to you in regards to getting the vaccine, that’s the first red flag. Especially if they’re reaching out by text, email, or the internet.



The second red flag to watch out for when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine scams is that you should not be paying money upfront.

“This is going to be a paid service by taxpayer dollars, so it’s going to be free,” Callender said.

Make sure you have a discussion with your elderly family members so they know which types of scams to look out for.

Also, be on the lookout for robocalls trying to get you to sign up and pay for the vaccine. It’s a scam.

If you know of any suspicious activity you should reach out to Homeland Security by emailing covid19fraud@dhs.gov or calling the tipline at 313-226-0500.



About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter and part of the Local 4 Defenders team.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.