The U.S. Department of Justice issued a warning Wednesday about fake post-vaccine survey scams.
If you receive a text message or email regarding a COVID-19 vaccine survey promising a prize or cash upon completion, don't click the link. The messages often state that you only need to pay shipping and handling to receive the aforementioned prize.
Scammers even test different prizes and subject lines to see which ones get the most clicks, says Jake Milstein, Chief Marketing Officer of CI Security.
"In your quest to get a free iPad, you might be inadvertently giving a crook access to your bank account," Milstein added.
If someone falls victim by clicking the link and entering their credit card info, they've just exposed their personal information and increased the probability of identity theft. And, they won't receive the "prize."
"In reality, the surveys are used to steal money from consumers and unlawfully capture consumers’ personal information," the Justice Department said in a news release.
"Unless from a known and verified source, consumers should never click on links in text messages or emails claiming to be a vaccine survey."
To protect your money and personal information, here's what you can do: If you do receive one of these unsolicited text messages or emails, carefully examine the message and don't click the link. Companies won't generally contact customers asking for a username or password. When in doubt, contact the company allegedly sending the message, but don't use the contact information provided in the unsolicited message.
You can report these types of phishing messages to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) by calling 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud.
If you believe you may have entered your personal information into a fraudulent website, you can find resources on how to protect your information here.