Law enforcement has issued announcements warning the public of scammers trying to trick people into reserving a COVID-19 vaccine. The calls and text messages claim to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and they are asking for people’s credit cards and social security numbers to “reserve their spot” on the waiting list.
If there were a vaccine and a waiting list, believe me, I would be on it and telling you to get on it too. But there isn’t and this is just the latest scam from despicable threat actors taking advantage of the global pandemic.
We are seeing a lot of new Coronavirus scams showing up, however most are not as “novel” as you might think. Texting and phone scams are old hat but the social, economic and fear driven climate is. All people, yes you and me included, are likely to make unwise choices based on fear and uncertainty. Scammers know this and will use high-pressure sales tactics to get you to give away personal information or access to your hard earned money. Here are 3 things to keep in mind:
- Be skeptical of anyone who contacts you by email, phone or in person claiming to be from a well known organization. There is a good chance they are trying to scam you of your money and personal information.
- Text messaging is not official communication. At this time, government agencies will not text message you for any reason. If you “receive” one from the CDC, FBI, IRS, etc. just know it’s not real.
- Beware of a sense of urgency. A scammer needs to get their victim to act and instilling fear, worry and motivation to act is how they will catch you. We see this frequently in disaster relief scams. These guys have no shame
If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a scam, the next step is to file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at https://www.ic3.gov/. This helps the FBI better protect our communities as they get feedback and visibility of scams in progress. You may even help them catch these cyber criminals. Let’s all do our part to help one another in this time of need.
Stay safe out there.