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COVID vaccine scammers target seniors

West Van police say two seniors were contacted by con artists claiming to be offering at-home appointments for a COVID shot
COVID vaccine
Scammers pretending to be health officials have been calling West Vancouver seniors offering "at home" appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine.

As B.C.’s vaccine rollout starts this week for the oldest seniors, West Vancouver police are warning scammers are also trying to take advantage of the situation.

Phone lines are now open for seniors 85 and over to book their vaccine appointments at designated community clinics.

But scammers have in some cases also been calling local residents pretending to have doses of the COVID vaccine for home appointments.

Const. Kevin Goodmurphy of the West Vancouver police said at least two seniors in the last two weeks have reported receiving phone calls from someone claiming to be a health official or government representative wanting to set up an at-home appointment for the shot.

“They then go on further to ask for personal details such as credit card numbers to set up prepayment of the vaccine itself,” said Goodmurphy. “One person reported that they were asked for their home address.”

In both cases, fortunately, those who received the calls hung up and informed police, he said.

“The fact that the person was asking for their address and their personal details just sort of didn't feel right to them,” he said.

Goodmurphy added it’s possible the same scam artists have contacted more people. “Often these are situations where people don’t always call police,” he said.

Currently seniors on the North Shore – or family and friends calling on their behalf – must call in to the dedicated Vancouver Coastal Health vaccine phone line at 1-877-587-5767 to book appointments. They will then be given a time and date to show up at one of two community clinics, at either the West Vancouver Community Centre gym or the ICBC COVID testing centre site on Lloyd Avenue.

In some cases where seniors are unable to come to the clinics, the health authority will make special arrangements for vaccines to be given at home by community health nurses. Currently, most of those appointments are being set up through home support services.

Nobody will be charged for the vaccine.


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