Scam Alert: Scammers asking for prepayment in order to get vaccinated

Published: Jan. 27, 2021 at 6:03 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Scammers have found a new way to prey on people, and it has to do with COVID-19 vaccinations. Unfortunately, the possibility to still contract the virus puts many of us in a vulnerable spot. It’s important to be aware of the newest scam out there.

Right now, scammers are making calls, acting on behalf of health organizations.

They’re claiming you need to pre-pay over the phone in order to get vaccinated.

“I’m really startled to hear that. To take advantage of elderly people, it’s kind of unbelievable to tell you the truth,” said Bob Swanhorts.

If you are one of the thousands still waiting to get vaccinated, it’s important to know that you do not have to pay to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Recent reports say scammers are now calling, specifically the senior population, claiming they need to prepay in order to be vaccinated.

Vice President of Nursing with Sanford Amy Thiesse said, “As part of our agreement with the state of South Dakota, there are no, again, no charges or no individual costs for the COVID vaccine for any patient.”

It’s important to consider certain factors if you’re suspicious of a phone call.

“I think what we want to make sure that seniors and others know is that if they do receive a call and people are asking for personal, identifiable information such as social security number, date of birth, those types of things, unsolicited calls, that they should really question whether those are legitimate,” said Thiesse.

Scammers will usually ask for information that health organizations would never collect over the phone for the vaccine.

Thiesse said, “As health care organizations, we will be calling you to schedule appointments, we will be calling you to verify appointments, but we won’t ever ask for payment or cost information on those phone calls.”

Another way to tell is by considering the number that called you.

She also said, “Oftentimes they’re coming from a blocked caller or an unknown caller, which should always raise suspicious in our minds.”

Swanhorts said, “Everything we’ve done here today has been so efficient and timely. So, it’s really sad to think anyone would take advantage of this.”

To report a scam, call your local police department’s non-emergency line, or report it online at

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