Beware of vaccine scams

Attorney General Ashley Moody is issuing a Consumer Alert to warn Floridians about COVID-19 vaccination scams. With the continuing rollout of vaccines and increasing number of Floridians seeking to secure appointments, scammers have devised multiple methods attempting to take advantage of the highly anticipated vaccination distribution.

Here are a few emerging COVID-19 vaccine scams:

Paid appointments: Scammers may post fraudulent appointment booking pages or call, text or email offering to set up a vaccine appointment or expedite access to a vaccine appointment for a fee. Know that any offer requiring payment in order to place the consumer on a waiting list, secure an appointment or expedite access to the vaccine is a scam. 

Supposed in-home vaccinations through Medicare: Fraudsters claiming to be from Medicare may offer seniors in-home vaccination appointments and request a senior’s Medicare card in order to schedule, but this too is a scam. While Medicare cards no longer use Social Security numbers, the card number is still private data that could be used to commit Medicare fraud and should be protected. Medicare representatives also will never visit seniors at home nor call to sell something. 

Scam appointment calls: Scammers may also call would-be victims posing as county health officials or a vaccination site representative setting up an appointment. Rather than requesting payment, these callers are seeking private information to be used to commit identity theft or fraud. These scam artists may even tell victims to arrive at a known local vaccination site at a specific date and time to bolster the ruse. Be wary of anyone soliciting personal information—such as a Social Security number, Medicare card number or credit or banking information—in order to secure an appointment

Identity theft using vaccination cards: Vaccination cards issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include the recipient’s full name, birthdate and vaccine location — information scammers can use to hack online accounts or commit identity fraud. Additionally, these cards may be used to create convincing-looking fake vaccine documentation.

Anyone who suspects a COVID-19 vaccine-related scam should report it to the Attorney General’s Office by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.

Nesting season begins at the beach

Florida is home to many species of shorebirds and seabirds that nest on coastal beaches. Charlotte County hosts three species of shorebirds, the Wilson’s plover, Snowy plover and American oystercatcher, and two species of seabirds, Least tern and Black skimmer. Each nesting season, which is underway, Charlotte County staff installs temporary fencing, stakes, string, flagging and educational signs around solitary and colony nesting areas to provide a safe buffer zone for shorebirds to nest and raise their young. When visiting Charlotte County coastal beaches, avoid posted shorebird/seabird nesting areas and leave your dog at home. Dogs are seen as predators and have the potential to disturb critical nesting activities.


Easter drive-thru event

The Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County has partnered with Sonshine Baptist Church and Safe Kids Southwest Florida, to bring the community some Easter festivities. The drive-thru event will include a food pantry, Easter goodie bags. Bicycle helmets will be given to each child. Car seat safety checks will also be done at the event. And the Easter Bunny will be on the scene waving to the kids. The event is from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. March 27 at Sonshine Baptist Church, 23105 Veterans Blvd., Port Charlotte. There is no charge, but space is limited. Reserve your spot today by e-mailing Farrah.Fishman@flhealth.gov or calling 941-624-7200, ext. 7273.

Tangible personal property tax returns

The Charlotte County Property Appraiser reminds business and rental property owners that the deadline for filing 2021 tangible personal property tax returns is April 1. A return must be filed by April 1 to receive the up to $25,000 tangible exemption. However, if a blue postcard was received, filing the return has been waived unless additional assets obtained since 2008 result in a total value exceeding $25,000. For questions, call 941-743-1476.

Charlotte County parking pass

Parking pass are now available for purchase at Charlotte County recreation centers and pools. Parking passes can also be purchased through the mail, phone or the tax collector’s office. Download the application online at www.CharlotteCountyFL.gov/parks and click Parking & Parking Passes.

For information, contact Mike Koenig at 941-625-7529 or Mike.Koenig@CharlotteCountyFL.gov.

Kiwanis Shoes for Kids

The Sunrise Kiwanis Shoes for Kids program is continuing to collect new pairs of shoes for donation to Charlotte County students in need. For a list of collection sites, visit shoesforkidsproject.org. Monetary donations can also be made to Sunrise Kiwanis, 489 Market Circle, Unit 308 Port Charlotte, FL 33953. For more information, call Christy Smith at 941-769-0864.

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