Watch out for COVID-19 vaccine scams

There has been a huge upsurge in scams since the start of the global COVID-19 outbreak. Fake treatments, fake versions of real treatments, fake medical products including personal protective equipment, and fraud surrounding everything from unemployment payments to business relief aid.

COVID-19 vaccines are modern medical miracles produced in record time with a high effectiveness rate. Everyone should get one, but the rollout will take time. In the meantime COVID scammers are preying on the public to try and make a buck, and in some cases, endangering their lives. 

The CDC's COVID-19 page is the place to go for accurate vaccine information

PSM is running a public safety campaign to warn Americans about COVID vaccine counterfeiters. Want to help? Click here for images and messaging to share.

COVID vaccine counterfeiters are preying on the public. Learn about the three kinds of scams we've been seeing.

We've seen three broad categories of crime

Vaccines Signups Dangled for Financial and Identity Theft

COVID scammers create fake vaccination signup websites and ask for money or personal information, presumably for future identity theft. They promote the sites to victims in email or via text message.

Mobile phone vaccine scam
in the UK (Source: The Independent)

Fraudulent Moderna Website (Source:

Diversion: Shots For Sale Where They Shouldn't Be

Diversion is the term for when legitimate medical products end up somewhere unexpected in the supply chain. There's no guarantee that sensitive products have been kept at the right temperatures, and sometimes when they re-enter the supply chain they are mixed in with counterfeits.

a dark web ad for covid-vaccine

Screenshot of an ad from the dark web (Source:

Fake Substances Sold As Vaccines 

In just a few months, there have been an alarming number of incidents, large and small, in which scammers have tried to pass off entirely fake vaccines as real. Many have even been injected into patients.

DoJ indicted Seattle-area microbiologist Johnny Stine for injecting people with a fake vaccine in January. Watch our video to learn more.