Throughout the year 2020, many people were waiting for a vaccine to come out that would stop the spread of the coronavirus. COVID-19 vaccinations began to be introduced to the country and millions of people have already had their shot or shots. It seems to be opening up to even more people, and many are hopeful that it will be just what we need.
Since hope and money are involved, it also is something that is targeted by scammers and they are getting better and better at tricking people out of their money.
In fact, a warning was issued by the FBI regional office in Omaha, Nebraska, along with the United States Department of Justice, talking about people being solicited through email or text messages to conduct a post-vaccine survey.
According to the scam, the participants would receive cash or another prize for completing the questionnaire, but the survey does not exist.
Since you would be giving personal information when filling out the survey, your identity could be compromised. Some of the information that is requested includes financial details, addresses, and names.
Additional scams are also circulating, including one that involves social media. People are being asked to exchange money so they can secure an appointment to get their vaccine. Since the vaccines are provided at no cost, then a legitimate source would not be asking for money.
The US Department of Justice’s warning said: “Consumers receive the surveys via email and text message, and are told that, as a gift for filling out the survey, they can choose from various free prizes, such as an iPad Pro. The messages claim that the consumers need only pay shipping and handling fees to receive their prize. Victims provide their credit card information and are charged for shipping and handling fees, but never receive the promised prize. Victims also are exposing their personally identifiable information (PII) to scammers, thereby increasing the probability of identity theft.”
As a further warning, the FBI is reminding people that they should not post any details about their COVID-19 vaccination card on the Internet. Doing so may put you at risk for identity theft, because details, such as your name, date of birth, and where you live are included.
If you feel as if you are a victim of a vaccine scam or if you would like to report a potential scam, you can contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or through their website, ic3.gov. You can also fill out a complaint on the Department of Justice website or contact them at 866-720-5721.SKM: below-content placeholder