Privacy Tip #277 – Beware of Vaccine Surveys

Criminals use current events to launch new schemes designed to prey on victims’ vulnerabilities or fears. Throughout the pandemic, criminals have used fear of COVID-19, or the anticipation of a cure or a vaccine, to lure victims and persuade them to provide information they can use for fraudulent purposes.

The most recent scam being reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is related to a vaccine survey. The criminals either email or text victims, asking them to complete a survey about the vaccine that they received and employing the logos of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. The surveys look very real because of the logos, and they offer a reward if you fill out the survey. However, they ask you to pay for the shipping of the “reward.” In order to pay for the shipping, you have to give them your credit card number or bank account number. That’s the scam.

According to the FTC:

No legitimate surveys ask for your credit card or bank account number to pay for a “free” reward.

If you get an email or text you’re not sure about:

    • Do not click on any links or open attachments. Doing so could install harmful malware that steals your personal information without you realizing it.
    • Do not call or use the number in the email or text. If you want to call the company that supposedly sent the message, look up its phone number online.

Remember:

    • Do not 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, contact the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Unfortunately, many individuals who have been vaccinated and who are receiving these fake survey requests are our seniors. Warn the seniors in your life about this scam and caution them to be wary of all unsolicited requests for information.