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COVID vaccine scam-2

Distribution of the approved COVID-19 vaccines is well underway, but fraudsters are gaining access to vaccine-related data almost as fast as the rollout. According to the latest numbers from the Department of Public Health (DPH), more than 4 million people in Massachusetts have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine – that’s 63% of the state’s population.

After getting the first dose of any approved iteration of the COVID-19 vaccine, some consumers may receive imposter emails or texts posing as Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson and Johnson. These messages often claim to be “post-vaccination surveys,” however none of the current vaccine providers are conducting surveys at this time. Special Agent William McNamara from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 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.” This is a scam – do not respond!

Individuals responding to these phishing attempts, in the hopes of receiving a prize, will then be prompted to provide a credit card or financial information to pay for shipping and handling, but the gifts will never arrive and their personal information is now compromised.

Here are some red flags to identify a phishing scam:

  • Communication (emails or texts) creating a sense of urgency or requiring an immediate response
  • Messages with basic grammatical or spelling errors
  • Links leading to fraudulent websites or corrupt attachments that may contain malware
  • Solicitation of your username or password in order to gain access to your “prize”

If you receive a text message or email claiming to be a COVID-19 vaccine survey with links or other contact information, please report the message to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) by calling 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud.

You can also report this scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by calling 1-877-382-4357 or via their complaint form at http://reportfraud.ftc.gov/, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by calling 1-888-225-5322.

If you are concerned about identity theft for any reason, please see our Consumer’s Checklist for Handling Identity Theft.

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