Vaccine scams begin infecting American lives
As with anything promising and in sudden demand, scammers are on the prowl to capitalize on it — looking to rip you off or infect your computer — leaving thousands of victims in their wake. As ABC7Chicago’s Jason Knowles and Ann Pistone report, bad actors are already on the prowl.
“Security experts said vaccine scams are going to be inundating your smartphones and computers, and as the demand for the shot increases thieves will prey on people,” they tell us. ‘The subject line may say “URGENT INFORMATION LETTER: COVID 19 NEW APPROVED VACCINES.’ Or they could be emails saying you can buy the COVID-19 vaccine.”
When the reporters asked a random group of people about falling for these scams, they heard stories of people desperate and vulnerable or have been affected personally by it, desperate to get the vaccine. The conclusion is that it’s everyone’s responsibility to tell loved ones and elders that they shouldn’t be opening suspicious texts and emails, because you can NOT buy the COVID-19 vaccine online.
According to the report, the Better Business Bureau and the Food and Drug administration have already issued vaccine scam warnings, saying that these fraudsters are preying upon the most vulnerable in the hopes of getting a vaccine sooner so they can go back to living their lives the way they used to, before the pandemic hit. “Vaccine scams can also come in the form of phishing texts or emails which look like they’re from a reputable company or government agency,” say the reporters, who add that the emails or texts could look like they are coming from your doctor or a government agency like the Centers for Disease Control who ask that you click on a link to access the vaccine. What they really are are scammers hoping you will enter personal information like a social security number or Medicare information. Other scams include verbiage that may fool you into downloading a so-called “vaccine schedule.”
Click on those links at your peril, as you are sent to a website to which they download or ask to download a spreadsheet of local areas that you can go and queue up for your vaccine. And when you do so, that document leads to a computer infection, which becomes a virus to which they can then either target you for ransomware attacks. “In a ransomware attack, the scammers hold your device hostage for a high payment,” say Knowles and Pistone.
Their best advice is to follow up with your doctor or trusted pharmacy and NEVER respond to any random texts or emails. “If you get any correspondence from a government agency or your doctor, even if you think it is real, you should still delete the email or text,” they add. “Call the agency or email them directly by going to the official website, on your own.”
Source: ABC7Chicago | TBWS