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Beware of COVID-19 Vaccine Scams

posted on Friday, January 15, 2021 in Security & Fraud Information

image of phones with email icon on screen

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, people all over the world have been anxiously awaiting the development of a vaccine that could protect them from the coronavirus. While the announcement that the vaccine is being distributed throughout the U.S. is great news, cybercriminals are certain to seize on the news with future fraud scams. 

COVID-19 vaccine scams could come through phishing emails that offer to sell a vaccine or other type of treatment. The legitimate coronavirus vaccines, however, will be distributed in phases; be skeptical of any vaccine or treatment offer you receive by email.

Follow these tips to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Be suspicious. Like with all emails, it’s important not to immediately believe anything that sounds too good to be true. If you are unsure of whether the offer is legitimate, search for it online, checking credible sources.
  • Read the email carefully. There are several tell-tale signs that an email is a phishing scam. It could contain several misspelled words or grammatical errors. The name on the email may not match the email address. If you hover over the links, the URL may not point to a credible website. Check the email carefully and do not click any link or download any attachment until you are 100% sure it is legit.
  • Don’t panic. Cybercriminals may use scare tactics to get you to click on a link before you’ve had a chance to investigate it. For example, if you receive an email that informs you there may not be enough vaccines for everyone, ignore it.
  • Go straight to the source. If you receive an email that appears to come from the federal government, and you are unsure if it is real, do not click on a link in the email. Navigate to their website through your web browser and contact the organization directly to confirm its legitimacy.

When in Doubt, Throw It Out

A vaccine is long-awaited good news that will eventually get the country back to normal operations. It is critically important, however, that consumers exercise caution with any communication offering a vaccine. Just like with food that has been in the refrigerator too long, the best rule of thumb is: When in doubt, throw it out.

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