What the Tech? FTC Warns of Scam Involving COVID-19 Vaccine Surveys

As further proof that cyber-criminals will stop at nothing to scam you, the Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers about emails offering rewards for information about the COVID-19 vaccine.

The emails offer rewards or prizes for participating in a survey that’s supposed to take a few minutes to complete. “Right now, we are offering a rewards program for adults who offer their opinions about AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 Vaccine,” one reads.

Examples of the reported scams show all of the emails look legitimate by using the official logos of AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna. Although the warning does not mention a similar scam for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine it is sure to either exist or will exist soon. That’s how scammers work.

The emails offer victims a reward package worth $90. According to the warning from the FTC, consumers who click on the link might have their computer infected with malware installed by the scammer.

As for the reward package, anyone taking the time to fill out the survey will be told they have to pay for shipping and handling and will be asked for their credit card information.

This most recent scam follows behind a trail of bogus emails dating back to February of last year when scammers used the initial scare of the coronavirus to steal personal information by offering a list of locations seeing an increase in cases.

Two weeks ago the FTC warned about vaccine scams that offer to send the vaccine to a person’s home or promise to reserve a place in line for the vaccinations.

Complicating things with this most recent scam is the fact the CDC is asking for feedback from people who’ve received the vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control is asking people to submit information about side effects after getting the vaccine.

Those requests though require a person to sign up with their phone number and the surveys are being sent by text message.

If you’ve been seeing or reading our reports of vaccine scams you are probably well equipped to identify and avoid the scams but you should warn family members. Seniors are particularly susceptible to falling for these email scams but young people are often victims too.

Everyone should be aware of these scams and that the best reaction should be to delete the emails without clicking anything and report them to the FTC at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov

Categories: Coronavirus, News Video, On Your Side, What The Tech