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Health department warns of scam targeting seniors wanting vaccination

The latest scam to separate Lawrence Countians from their money is targeting people who may want to get the COVID-19 vaccinations.

The Lawrence County Health Department recently posted on their Facebook page that someone claiming to be from their office is calling senior citizens and asking for a copy of their driver’s license and Social Security card so they can get the COVID-19 vaccination.

“This is a SCAM,” the post stated. “The health department DOES NOT NEED this information to schedule appointments to give vaccine to our county residents. If you receive such a request, please hang up the phone immediately and do not give any information to the caller.”

The health department said the calls have been reported to authorities.

The scam is just the latest variation in a long line of scams, which Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost calls an “imposter scam,” where a criminal impersonates a government official in an attempt to get a person’s Social Security number and other information, which can be used to take out credit cards or steal benefits.

Other variations on the scheme include the caller pretending to be from the IRS demanding a tax payment or a sheriff’s deputy trying to collect an old, outstanding court fine. That is not how government agencies work.

Government agencies already have your information and will send a notice via the mail rather than calling your house. They also do not demand payment be made in the form of pre-paid debit cards.

Yost also warned that the phone numbers on caller ID can be altered to make it look like an official or local call when it is actually coming from a scammer in a foreign country.

To report scam calls, contact the sheriff’s office at 740-532-3525.

For the latest in scams going around the state, Ohio Attorney General David Yost has a web page that lists various scams, from the latest tech scam to the older “grandchild in need of immediate cash” scam.

Go to www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/scams to see the list.

If you think you are the victim of a scam, report it to your local police agency, bank or credit card company. You can report it to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office by going to their website at www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/About-AG/Contact/Report-A-Scam.