Scammers are in full swing taking advantage of the opportunity to use COVID-19 vaccines to perpetrate fraud upon the public using fake post-vaccine surveys. Victims are being contacted via email and/or text message after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and asked to participate in a fraudulent post-vaccine survey with the promise of a prize or cash upon conclusion of the survey. The survey may ask: “Have you been diagnosed with COVID-19?” and “Which vaccine do you think is better?” From there, victims are told they can choose from various free prizes and need only to pay shipping and handling fees to receive their prize. Victims then provide their credit card information and are charged for the shipping and handling fees, but never receive the promised prize. Victims are exposing their personally identifiable information (PII) to the scammers, which poses a great risk of their identity being stolen and/or sold.
Please be aware: NO post-vaccine surveys are being conducted by Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. Emails or text messages that claim to be sent on behalf of these companies seeking personal financial information is illegitimate and fraudulent as these companies would never request an advanced payment for shipping or other expenses. DO NOT open the messages or respond with any personal information, including credit card and/or bank information. Always be sure to check information from your local government or official news sources. Even if you don’t pay, simply sharing PII can still expose you to the risk of identity theft.
How to protect yourself from post-vaccine survey scams:
Know your area’s plan for rolling out the vaccine. Understanding the process in your area and how you can expect to be contacted will help you spot a scam.
Research carefully. Be skeptical of anything that seems too good – or crazy – to be true. Be aware that none of the vaccines can be currently purchased online or in stores.
Check with your doctor and local officials. Review the official website of your local health department or contact your doctor for the most current and accurate information.
Guard your government-issued numbers. Never give your Medicare ID number, Social Security number, health plan information, or banking information to anyone you don’t know or trust.
Is that link real? Double check the URL. Scammers often buy official-looking URL domains to use in their cons. Be careful to ensure that the link destination is really what it claims to be. If the message claims to be from the local government, make sure the URL ends in .gov When in doubt, perform a separate internet search for the website or call the source directly.
If you are a victim, or spot a scam:
• Report the activity to the online payment service used for the financial transaction.
• Contact your financial institution upon discovering any fraudulent or suspicious activity within your account(s).
• Report suspected crime to uspis.gov/report or call USPIS at 1-877-876-2455.
Please click HERE to view the PSA video below to learn more about COVID-19 vaccine survey scams.