SAN DIEGO — The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department wants you to be aware of a new phishing scam targeting people receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
Nationally there are reports that fraudsters are creating fake post COVID-19 vaccine surveys. Consumers are asked to fill out a survey with the promise of a cash prize or reward at the conclusion of the survey.
FBI Special Agent William McNamara says "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 consumers need to provide a credit card or bank account information to pay for shipping and handling to receive the gifts, but the gifts never arrive.
Victims are also sharing their personal information which puts them at risk of exposure to identity fraud.
The Department of Justice release states "Phishing messages may look like they come from government agencies, financial intuitions, shipping companies, and social media companies, among many others. Carefully examine any message purporting to be from a company and do not click on a link in an unsolicited email or text message."
Scams that use links embedded in unsolicited text messages and emails in attempts to obtain personally identifiable information are commonly referred to as "phishing schemes."
"Beware of clicking on any links from a sender you don't know and pay attention to who the sender is and if you are unsure try and contact that sender through a means NOT in the email or the link," McNamara said.
Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson and Johnson are not conducting any post-vaccination surveys at this time according to McNamara.
The Better Business Bureau issued a warning about this vaccine scam in March.
If you receive a text message or email claiming to be a COVID-19 vaccine survey and containing a link or other contact information, please report the communication to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) by calling 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form. Intellectual property crimes such as these also may be reported to federal law enforcement at the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center).
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