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Coronavirus in Florida

Ashley Moody warns Floridians about COVID-19 vaccine-related scams

INTERPOL told 194 countries to prepare for organized crime networks targeting COVID-19 vaccines.

Attorney General Ashley Moody encouraged Floridians on Monday to be mindful of COVID-19 vaccine-related scams.

Moody’s warning comes as Interpol warned that 3,000 pharmaceutical websites are already suspected of selling illicit medicines and medical devices. What’s more, over half of the scam websites contained cyberthreats including phishing and spamming software.

“I am extremely encouraged by news of multiple coronavirus vaccines potentially moving toward FDA approval,” Moody said in a news release. “Once we have an effective immunization, the swift and orderly distribution of the vaccine will be key to getting our state and country back on track. But Floridians must remain on high alert. Scammers may try to exploit the sense of urgency surrounding the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to swindle those trying to protect their health. I am asking all Floridians to be on the lookout for vaccine-related scams and report fraud to our office.”

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to host a meeting Thursday to discuss the emergency authorization of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. More vaccines including one by Moderna are expected to be approved in the coming weeks.

Ahead of any FDA approval, Moody offered several tips to help Floridians protect themselves from COVID-19 vaccine-related scams.

She reminded Floridians that the FDA has yet to approve any vaccine.

“Any attempt to sell a vaccine right now is not legitimate,” Moody said.

She also warned Floridians against COVID-19 solicitations. She said the vaccines will be purchased with tax dollars and will be provided at no cost.

“Never send money or financial information to anyone offering a COVID-19 vaccine or claiming the ability to expedite the process,” Moody added.

Moody encouraged Floridians to report suspicious solicitations or COVID-19 vaccine-related advertisements to the Attorney General’s Office.

Tips can be reported online or by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM.

Written By

Jason Delgado is a state capital reporter at Florida Politics. After serving in the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. You can reach him at jason@floridapolitics.com or on Twitter at @_JasonDelgado.

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