Our 11 News Call For Action team pens a weekly column for our news partner The Gazette. Previous columns can be found here.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) – With spring break here for many students and summer vacation just around the corner, many health agencies are still saying people should avoid travel because of the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19.
With that in mind, I know many people are making plans to travel once they’re fully vaccinated. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) wants to make sure you are not scammed out of money while preparing for your next big trip.
According to recent BBB Scam Tracker reports, con artists are creating lookalike websites for Trusted Traveler Programs, like TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. These programs help travelers get through airport security faster.
The BBB said the scammers can make their knock-off websites look official, so it’s easy to fall for. Those sites may charge you an application fee, plus a hefty service fee if they offer to do all the paperwork for you. You’ll also probably be asked to fill out forms with sensitive information, like your full name, passport number and home address.
Even if you pay through these fake sites, the scammers may never actually submit your application, and in addition to your money, they now also have your personal information.
To avoid scams like this, the BBB recommends double checking the URL to make sure you’re on a legitimate website. In the United States, all government websites end in “.gov”. All secure links start with “https://” and should have a lock icon to the left of the URL.
The BBB also suggests making all online purchases with a credit card. If scammers trick you into paying through a fraudulent website, you can usually dispute those charges with your credit card company.
You can report scams to the BBB at www.bbb.org/ScamTracker. Remember, you can also report scams, fraud and price gouging to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office by calling 800-222-4444.
This week, I also wanted to let you know a permanent COVID-19 vaccination site has been set up at the Broadmoor World Arena. As of now, Centura Health can administer up to 2,000 vaccines there each day. When more vaccines are available, that number is expected to increase to 6,000 doses a day.
The drive-thru clinic will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Monday. When you are eligible to get the vaccine, you can register by calling 720-263-5737.
I also wanted to keep the numbers for COVID-19 vaccine questions on your radar. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has a vaccine hotline that’s open 24/7. You can call 1-877-268-2926 for more information. You can also call 2-1-1 or text “vaccine” to 667873 to get contact information for your preferred health care provider to sign up for a vaccine.
You can learn more about the different vaccines and track how many Coloradans have gotten vaccinated on the state’s website at covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine.
I also wanted to let you know the IRS has extended this year’s tax filing deadline by one month. You now have until May 17 to file your taxes. You can find out more information on www.IRS.gov.
Click here to read the original column on gazette.com.
Copyright 2021 KKTV. All rights reserved.