Department of Justice warns of COVID-19 post-vaccine survey scams
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued a warning about a scam campaign inviting users to fill in a COVID-19 post-vaccine survey to win prizes. DOJ warns that these fake surveys are meant to steal money and personal information.
According to the US Department of Justice, there is an ongoing COVID-19 related scam that promises prizes to those who fill out a post-vaccine survey. Users are promised tech gadgets such as iPads and even cash but are asked to pay the shipping fee, provide payment card information, as well as their personal details. In the end, users would be charged for the supposed shipping but receive nothing in return. And a whole new set of problems emerge when users give away their personal information to malicious actors.
“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. The messages claim that the consumers need only pay shipping and handling fees to receive their prize,” the DOJ warns.
COVID-19 phishing campaigns are nothing new, and we have previously reported that people in the UK were targeted by phishing campaigns inviting them to register to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This is not unusual, as scammers are always quick to use devastating situations to their own advantage.
This COVID-19 post-vaccine scam asks users to provide their personal information, including full name, home address, phone number, and email address. The scam also asks for payment data. This information would be sent to the malicious actors operating this scam, who would then either use the information themselves or sell it as part of a larger stolen data collection containing the personal information of thousands of users. Either way, the outcome will not be good. Users who have provided scammers with their information should be very cautious about any kind of unsolicited contact, as malicious actors may try to scam them further in the future.
Inviting users to participate in scams via text messages and emails is a common tactic used by scammers, thus users are always cautioned to not click on any unknown links, whether they come in a text message or an email. It’s very common for phishing emails to be disguised to look like they’re coming from government agencies, banks, shipping and delivery companies, social media, etc. If users receive any kind of correspondence, whether it’s via email or text message, they should always check their legitimacy before engaging. It’s best to not click on any links in text messages in general, and those that come in emails can be checked via services like VirusTotal. Users should also be very careful about who they provide their personal information to.
DOJ urges people to report incidents
The Department of Justice asks that those who receive such invitations to participate in surveys report them to the National Center for Disaster Fraud via this site. And for those who have provided their personal information to malicious actors, this site may be of help.
Users are also encouraged to familiarize themselves with what phishing attempts look like and how to identify scams. Resources can be found here and here.
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