Attorney General Balderas Warns New Mexicans to Beware of COVID-19 Vaccine Scams

December 14, 2020
Contact: Matt Baca — (505) 270-7148

Santa Fe, NM— Attorney General Hector Balderas today issued a consumer safety
advisory to New Mexican consumers about the increased proliferation of COVID-19
vaccine related scams, as vaccine rollout begins. Pharmaceutical companies and law
enforcement entities across the globe are warning of organized criminal elements that
are taking advantage of the vaccine rollout. These scammers are defrauding and enticing
people into purchasing fake COVID-19 vaccines. In response to these scams, Attorney
General Balderas warns New Mexican families to be vigilant in seeking or receiving the
COVID-19 vaccine.
“We will not tolerate fraud and scams in the delivery of this critical vaccine,” said Attorney
General Balderas. “Unfortunately during this pandemic we have seen the rise of
individuals who are looking to take advantage of the fear and vulnerability of our families
in these uncertain times; but New Mexicans should remain confident in the advice of
healthcare professionals and the law enforcement community, who are working diligently
to make sure we all stay safe.”
The Office of the Attorney General, working in partnership with law enforcement entities
across the country, warns of potential criminal activity in relation to the falsification, theft
and illegal advertising of COVID-19 and flu vaccines, with the pandemic having already
triggered unprecedented opportunistic and predatory criminal behavior. This includes
crimes where individuals have been advertising, selling, and administering fake vaccines.
As a number of COVID-19 vaccines come closer to approval and global distribution,
ensuring the safety of the supply chain and identifying illicit websites selling fake products
will be essential. Criminal networks will also be targeting unsuspecting members of the
public via fake websites and false cures, which could pose a significant risk to their health,
even their lives. According to INTERPOL’s Cybercrime Unit, it has identified 3,000
websites associated with online pharmacies suspected of selling illicit medicines and
medical devices, and around 1,700 of those websites contained cyber threats, especially
phishing and spamming malware.
To avoid falling victim to scams, it is important to be vigilant, be skeptical, and be safe,
as offers which appear too good to be true usually are. Always check with health
authorities for the latest health advice in relation to COVID-19. New Mexicans should
report anything suspicious they see related to the COVID-19 vaccine from a source other
than a healthcare professional to their local law enforcement officials; the Office of the
Attorney General at 1-844-255-9210 or; or the New Mexico Department of
Health at 1-855-600-3453.