As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread, scammers are taking advantage of consumers now more than ever before.
TFCU would like to share some common COVID-19 vaccine-related scams so that you can better protect yourself and your loved ones from being exposed to fraud.
FinCEN, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, recently issued a notice about the potential for fraud, ransomware attacks, or similar types of criminal activity related to COVID-19 relief efforts, vaccines and their distribution.
COVID-19 vaccine related fraud may include:
- The sale of unapproved and illegally marketed vaccines.
- The sale of counterfeit versions of approved vaccines.
- Illegal diversion of legitimate vaccines.
- The distribution of fraudulent information about COVID-19 vaccines.
Cybercriminals insert themselves into communications by impersonating a critical player in a business relationship or transaction, posing as healthcare providers or providers of healthcare supplies. They can also impersonate financial institutions or critical players from financial institutions. These communications are more commonly found in the form of text messages, emails, or phone calls.
Phishing scammers will often reference COVID-19 themes such as:
- Requesting payments related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) act in the subject line or content of emails.
- Advertising ways to make money, through investing in convertible virtual currencies (CVCs) or via domain names that mimic names of organizations, including those that provide or enable teleworking capabilities.
- Distribution of malware, ransomware, phishing emails, malicious websites and downloads, domain name system (DNS) hijacking or spoofing attacks, and fraudulent mobile applications.
Here are some red flags to help you stay vigilant:
- Unsolicited emails related to COVID-19 from untrusted sources, encouraging readers to open embedded links, files, or to provide personal or financial information.
- Unsolicited emails from untrusted sources or addresses similar to legitimate telework vendors offering application software at a reduced cost.
- Text messages with embedded links claiming to be from or associated with government relief programs or payments.
- Embedded links or webpage addresses for alleged COVID-19 resources have irregular (URLs) that do not match that of the expected destination site or are similar to legitimate sites but with slight variations in the domain (e.g., variations in domain extensions like “.com,” “.org,” and “.us”) or web address spelling.
We highly encourage you to visit the fincen.gov website for more information on these COVID-19 vaccine-related scams.
Protect Yourself with ID Safe
Signing up for ID Safe with TFCU can be a great way to protect yourself from fraud. ID Safe is an industry leading identity protection and management service that offers continuous monitoring and personalized fraud protection for every part of your life.
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For even more tips and insights on how you can better identify and avoid scams like these, check out out our free coaching session, 'Recognizing and Avoiding Scams' on the TFCU Banzai website!
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