While the coronavirus is spreading rapidly throughout the United States, the FDA recently passed an emergency use authorization for the coronavirus vaccine. The FDA has been working with Pfizer, BioTech, and Moderna to release emergency-use vaccines to the public in hopes that they can help rid this virus and end this pandemic. However, scammers know this and will use this as an excuse to scam their victims out of money. Therefore, it is always a good idea to know how to recognize and avoid COVID vaccine scams.
Types of COVID Vaccine Scams
Phishing Email, Text Message, and Social Media Messenger Scams
- Pretending to be the CDC and WHO. Scammers pretend to be the CDC and WHO, sending phishing emails, text messages, and social media messages to their victims about the vaccine. They claim that it’s been released and that victims can now put their information on a waiting list to purchase the vaccine. They send a phishing link to their fake websites, which have a form for victims to fill out. The victims fill the form out, which could then steal their personal information and financial information.
- Pretending to have the vaccine. Scammers pretend that they have the vaccine or a cure to the coronavirus, and try to sell it to their victims. They redirect their victims to a fake website that makes it look like they are purchasing the vaccine. However, scammers use the information the victim provides to commit identity fraud and steal their money.
Fake Websites Selling Fake Cures
Scammers create fake phishing websites that look like they are selling fake coronavirus vaccines and cures. They ask for victims’ information in order for them to pay for and receive these so-called vaccines and cures. After the personal and financial information is received, scammers use this information to steal their victims’ identities and money.
Scammers change their Caller ID and pretend to be your doctor, the CDC, the WHO, or another health agency offering the coronavirus vaccine at a price. Sometimes, they will even put a time limit on how much time you have to make a decision on if you want the vaccine or not and will rush you to say yes. Then once you give them your personal and financial information, they hang up on you then steal your money and information.
Pop-Up Advertising on COVID Vaccines
Scammers create pop-up ads claiming that the vaccine is now available. People click on the link to get the vaccine and are taken to a form to fill out. Once they give out their personal and financial information on the online forms, the scammers use this information to steal victims’ identities and money. These websites could also give you malware without you knowing and steal even more of your information.
Scammers knock on people’s doors, claiming that they have a waiting list for the coronavirus vaccine that people can sign up for. They ask you to put down your personal information, and in some instances even include that you put down your social security number. They also ask you to put down your financial information so that you can pay for the vaccine. Once you do this, the scammers then use it to commit identity theft and also to drain your bank accounts.
How to Avoid COVID Vaccine Scams
- Don’t give anyone your personal information.
- Don’t give anyone your financial information.
- Only believe legit well-known news sources when it comes to the vaccine.
- Check the URL before accessing the site to make sure it’s actually the website you want to access.
- Don’t click on any links that were sent to you via messaging or email.
- Don’t click on any pop-up advertising, and instead research how to get the vaccine only on official news websites.
- Go on the CDC and WHO’s official websites for more legit information on the COVID vaccines.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You with COVID Vaccine Scams!
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with if you think you’ve been a victim of COVID vaccine scams.