LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — As many people here in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania are dealing with delays and shortages of first and second COVID-19 vaccines, now Geisinger Medical Health System says there's another major warning for those desperate to get a shot.
Geisinger, one of this area's largest hospital systems, says it's highly concerned about a vaccine scam that appears to be targeting its elderly patients.
Geisinger says people are getting both automated and live calls or text messages from someone appearing to be from the hospital to set up an appointment for a vaccine in exchange for personal information or even money.
“If they're asking for money, they shouldn't be. We all know the COVID vaccine is free,” said Steve Dunkle, Geisinger’s Chief Information Security Officer.
Geisinger says what makes these types of scams so infuriating is that it targets some of the most vulnerable people.
Edward and Joan Kociolek of Dupont agree, saying recently they got a call from a person pretending to be from social security trying to get Joan’s number.
"Saying it was the social security administration, and they were going to stop her checks,” said Edward.
"And I'm smart enough to know that social security usually sends you a letter. They do not call you on the phone,” said Joan.
The Area Agency on Aging in Wilkes-Barre says it will pass along information about the scam to its staff so they can alert people they are assisting here in Luzerne and Wyoming Counties.
"We're seniors, but I feel sorry for the other seniors who really,” said the Kocioleks, completing each other’s sentence. “Fall for something like that.”
For more information about this scam and to learn about ways to protect your personal information, visit geisinger.org/security. The webpage provides information about the latest security alerts from Geisinger.
If you receive a call that is unexpected, suspicious, or about which you have any doubts, you should hang up and call Geisinger directly at 800-275-6401 or check your myGeisinger account for messages.