CASPER (WNE) — The Wyoming Department of Health is asking residents to be vigilant about scammers promising expedited access to a COVID-19 vaccine in exchange for personal information over the phone.

“We are hearing about unexpected calls going to residents from people falsely claiming they represent a local health department or the Wyoming Department of Health,” Michael Ceballos, director of the state health department, said in a Tuesday news release. “The callers go on to request payment or personal details such as social security numbers.”

The health department stresses that COVID-19 vaccines are entirely free and recipients won’t be asked for their health insurance information or Social Security number over the phone.

County health departments may ask for a person’s insurance or Medicare information at the appointment, but insurance is not needed to get a vaccine.

Wyomingites can report vaccine scams to the attorney general’s office’s Consumer Protection Unit, which can be reached at 307-777-6397, ag.consumer@wyo.gov or through the complaint form at ag.wyo.gov/cpu/consumer-complaints.

Wyoming is in Phase 1b of its vaccine priority schedule. That phase includes residents 65 years and older, people with certain health conditions and a variety of front-line workers, but most counties are still in the early stages of that phase, vaccinating residents 65 years or older.

The state is working through its vaccine allotment faster than most states. Wyoming is just short of the top 10 for states that have at least partially inoculated the largest chunk of their population.

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