Got the vaccine? You’re still not safe…from Covid Scams.
According to several reports, criminals and scammers are using scam robocalls, texts and emails to cash in on COVID-19 and playing on people’s ignorance or uncertainty about appointments and next steps.
The newest? The Bogus Email
Scammers are impersonating FTC Chair Lina Khan in a new phishing scheme, according to the FTC. The email says the FTC wants to send you Coronavirus relief funds and tells you to send some personal information, like your name, address, and date of birth.
The FTC is not distributing Coronavirus economic stimulus or relief money to people.
The FTC is not distributing Coronavirus economic stimulus or relief money to people. The email is a scam. Don’t reply!
This is in addition to another Covid Scam. The bogus survey.
The Scam Covid Survey
People are eager to help any way in the pandemic – and that’s what crooks are counting on. The latest one, reports Colleen Tressler at the Division of Consumer and Business Education at the Federal Trade Commission, comes via emails or texts: a Covid Scam Survey.
It asks people to complete a survey about the Covid vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna or others) but you must act immediately…and you’ll even get a free reward or gift to sweeten the deal if you just pay shipping costs!
Sound great, doesn’t it? Share your experience, help the cause and a free gift? And the emails or texts certainly looks official, don’t they? (See examples here.)
“Don’t respond. Don’t click links. Don’t take the survey. Don’t give any info.”
There’s no such survey and certainly no reward! The FTC’s advice is simple: Don’t respond. Don’t click any links. Don’t take the survey… and don’t give any information. Since vaccination plans vary by state and local governments, your best bet is to check with your state or local health departments to learn when and how to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you haven’t yet – or talk with your health care provider, pharmacist, or health insurance provider to learn more.
More tips from the FTC
Here are some other tips from the FTC to avoid vaccine related-scams:
Don’t pay to sign up for the vaccine, get on a list or reserve a spot on line. You can’t buy any Covid-19 vaccines anywhere including online pharmacies. The vaccine is only available at federal- and state-approved locations, such as vaccination centers and pharmacies.
Beware of unexpected or unusual texts. Don’t click on links in text messages – especially messages you didn’t expect. If your health care provider or pharmacist has used text messages to contact you in the past, you might get a text from them about the vaccine. If you do get a text, call your health care provider or pharmacist directly – at the number you have on record, not any phone numbers given in these texts. Scammers text, too!
Watch out for suspicious emails. Don’t open emails, attachments, or links from people you don’t know, or that come unexpectedly. You could download dangerous malware onto your computer or phone. And remember that scammers spoof email addresses too.
Never share your personal, financial, or health information with people you don’t know. No one from a vaccine distribution site, health care provider’s office, pharmacy, health insurance company or Medicare, will call, text, or email you asking for your Social Security, credit card, bank account number, financial details or insurance information to sign you up to get the vaccine.
That goes double for anyone calling/texting/emailing pretending they are contact tracing. (Learn more here.)
Don’t give your bank account, credit card, or personal information to someone who contacts you out of the blue.
You can filter unwanted text messages on your phone, through your wireless provider, or with a call-blocking app.
If you get an email or text that asks for your personal information and you think it could be a scam, tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
To learn more about COVID-related frauds and scams, visit ftc.gov/coronavirus/scams.