Authorities warn of COVID scam

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By Jonathan Shugarts, Republican-American

WATERBURY — Federal authorities issued a warning March 31 urging people to be aware of a fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination scheme that attempts to steal personal identifying information.

The Department of Justice warned scam artists are texting and emailing people around the country offering them gifts, such as iPad Pros, in exchange for taking surveys about their experiences with the vaccinations.

To receive the prize, the scams, which are referred to as “phishing,” make it seem as if people only need to pay for shipping and handling fees to get those rewards, according to federal authorities.

After victims provide their credit card information, they are charged for shipping but never receive their gifts.

The DOJ warned people should never click on emails or texts from unknown sources that claim to offer prizes for vaccination information.

When in doubt, contact the entity that appeared to have sent the message, but do not rely on any contact information contained in the message, according to the department.

Authorities ask anyone who receives suspicious COVID-19 vaccination messages to report them to the National Center for Disaster Fraud by calling 866-720-5721 or via the center’s complaint form at justice.gov/disaster-fraud.