The town of Longboat Key is urging residents to remain wary of potential scams related to COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
The good news is Deputy Police Chief Frank Rubino said the town has not had any reports of COVID-19 scams as of Thursday afternoon.
“We’re frustrated when any of our people get scammed,” Rubino said.
Earlier this month, the town shared a Facebook post from the Sarasota Police Department about the things people should look for, including:
- If you’re asked to pay out of pocket to get the vaccine.
- Advertisements for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online or from unknown sources.
- Marketers offering to sell or ship doses of the vaccine for payment.
People are urged not to give out their private information to unknown sources.
Rubino recommended for anyone wanting to get legitimate COVID-19 information to visit the town’s website, Manatee County’s website or Sarasota County’s website.
In the past, Rubino said other scams have come from social media posts that aren’t vetted by a government agency.
“In our demographics, we have a slightly older resident base and statistically, you can look at the FBI’s website, older people are generally more trusting and that’s why they prey on the older generation,” Rubino said.
Census data from the American Community Survey in 2019 shows about 46% of Longboat Key's population is 65 and older, not counting visitors and part-time residents.
People can also receive text alerts when Sarasota County has vaccines available by texting “SRQCOVID19” to 8887777. Manatee County offers a similar text service by sending “ManateeReady” to 8887777.
Anyone who thinks they've been a victim of a COVID-19 scam is asked to contact:
- HHS-OIG Hotline: 1(800)447-8477 | tips.hhs.gov
- FBI Hotline: 1(800)225-5324 } ic3.gov
- CMS/Medicare Hotline: 1-800-633-4227