The Better Business Bureau of Greater Hampton Roads is seeing some scams develop due to COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker has reported over 1,000 COVID-19 scams across the nation. Some of those schemes were tracked in Hampton Roads.
BBB Greater Hampton Roads Marketing and Communication Director, Jamie Howell, said fraudsters are sending emails, text messages and even physical mail to ensnare their victims.
“There are scams regarding trials for vaccines, there are scams regarding getting higher on the list to get your vaccines sooner and there’s scams regarding seeing if your immune and you need to get the vaccine,” she explained.
Virginia Beach resident Alyce Foster received a COVID-19 study letter in her mailbox on Tuesday.
“Those who qualify may receive payment up to $740 dollars. No-cost study-related care, potential COVID-19 vaccine and no cost see if they qualify; it gives a phone number and a website,” said Foster.
Foster reached out to 13News Now concerned that the letter was not from a legitimate company.
“I think someone should check it out, just to make sure, so if it isn’t… if it is, wonderful, if it isn’t, I may protect someone else out there from a possible issue,” said Foster.
Foster says she called the number on the letter and no one answered.
On Wednesday, Foster called again, and this time the phone call was directed to a call center for a COVID-19 study line.
13News Now sent Foster’s letter to Howell to see if there were any red flags, or if the letter seemed suspicious.
“I cannot get anyone on the phone personally. I am forwarding this to the head of our investigation so that she can look into this as well,” said Howell.
Howell said a misspelling in the letter indicated that it may be fraudulent.
“One thing that gave me a red flag is there’s a misspelling or an abbreviation that’s really not appropriate on that letter for instance They said the words Virginia Beach it wasn’t b-e-a-c-h it was B-ch; to me that doesn’t seem as legit as it should be,” said Howell.
Howell explained there is a federal website where people can look up current trials and studies.
“Clinicaltrials.gov is where you can find our trials that are currently happening for legit purposes, also follow up with the CDC or the FDA website or health and human services. Everything is constantly evolving so we’re trying to stay on top of things as well,” said Howell.
Howell found out the name on the letter is a scientific company. But the BBB is currently investigating to see if the letter is real, and if they’re really the ones who sent it to Foster.