"It tends to turn off the thinking part of your brain and go with the emotional side of your brain -- 'I got to have that,'" says one expert as to why people are susceptible to such scams.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Ingrid Coolins is like so many of us. The San Franciscan is wondering when she will get her COVID-19 vaccine. So, when a person called saying he was with the Centers for Disease Control, she was all ears.
"They told me that I was eligible for the vaccine," she said. "And you know enthusiastically I was like, 'Oh great, tell me what I need to do,' and he asked me a bunch of questions."
Too many questions -- including asking for her Social Security number.
"I was like, 'Okay, this is kind of getting a little sketchy.'" Coolins said. "I was like, 'No, I don't think so.' I asked him, 'How are you getting me my appointment?' I said, 'if you're calling from Washington, how do you know in my location where I'm going to get the vaccine?' He kind of got all flustered and hung up."
So Coolins didn't fall for it, but many consumers do. But why? Here's Consumer Checkbook contributing editor, Herb "ConsumerMan" Weisbaum.
"When people are afraid, when someone offers a solution an easy solution, it tends to turn off the thinking part of your brain and go with the emotional side of your brain -- 'I got to have that' -- and that's what these con artists are preying on they're telling you what you want to hear, but what they're telling you is an absolute lie," says Weisbaum.
Now here is what's really interesting about this scam. There aren't many conmen sniffing around. Alex Quilici heads up the robocall blocking app YouMail. He's not seeing many of these fake offers.
"There are about 30 million calls related to COVID every month," Quilici says. "But relatively few of these vaccine scam calls that we have seen. Most are actually quite legitimate. It is the county saying go to this location to get a vaccine or a health care provider saying how to make an appointment. Just random vaccine scams are out there, but not a ton of them that we are seeing right now."
Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
Have a question for Michael and the 7 On Your Side team? Fill out the form HERE!
7OYS's consumer hotline is a free consumer mediation service for those in the San Francisco Bay Area. We assist individuals with consumer-related issues; we cannot assist on cases between businesses, or cases involving family law, criminal matters, landlord/tenant disputes, labor issues, or medical issues. Please review our FAQ here. As a part of our process in assisting you, it is necessary that we contact the company / agency you are writing about. If you do not wish us to contact them, please let us know right away, as it will affect our ability to work on your case. Due to the high volume of emails we receive, please allow 3-5 business days for a response.
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS: