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Posted on: March 1, 2021

Beware COVID-19 Vaccination Scams UPDATED

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Ignore Bogus COVID Vaccine Survey

March 24, 2021
Colleen Tressler
Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

Scammers are using a new trick to steal your money and personal information: a bogus COVID vaccine survey.

People across the country are reporting getting emails and texts out of the blue, asking them to complete a limited-time survey about the Pfizer, Modernaor AstraZeneca vaccine. (And no doubt, there may be one for Johnson & Johnson, too.) In exchange, people are offered a free reward, but asked to pay shipping fees.

If you get an email or text like this, STOP. It’s a scam.



Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Secretary of State Jesse White today warned Illinois residents to be on alert for text message scams related to upcoming federal Real ID requirements.

Raoul and White are warning the public of scammers who are sending unsolicited text messages claiming to be from the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). The text message urges the recipient to click on a link to update their driver’s license or state ID to comport with upcoming federal Real ID requirements.

Attorney General Raoul says the text is a scam, and recipients should not click on the link or provide any information. Visiting the website could place malware on the recipient’s device or trick them into disclosing sensitive personal information. The IDES never will request personal information via text message and will not contact Illinois residents about updating their driver’s licenses or state IDs.

“Large corporate data breaches have made our personal information vulnerable to scammers, and even I have experienced some of the more recent scams circulating. No one is immune, so it is critical that people take steps to protect their personal and financial information from thieves,” Raoul said. “If you receive an unsolicited text message from someone claiming to represent IDES, do not click any links. This is a scam, and you should immediately delete the message.”

“I have zero tolerance for scammers, especially those who would prey on people in desperate times,” said White. “I have instructed my Secretary of State Police to investigate this scam and to work with other law enforcement authorities to identify and arrest the fraudsters,” said White. “In addition, my office has been in contact with the Illinois Attorney General’s office, as well as the Illinois Department of Employment Security.”

Complete Press Release


Virus Vaccine Scam

Coronavirus vaccines are not yet available to the general public, and they likely won’t be until the spring of 2021. When they become available, they will be free. In Chicago, vaccinations are expected to start this week (December 14-18). It will start with a first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine, which will arrive this week and will be distributed among the city’s hospitals. The vaccine will first go to health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

Unfortunately, scammers are already calling people and falsely claiming they can avoid long lines and pay $79.99 for a vaccine dose now, according to Better Business Bureau. The scammers are trying to steal people’s money and personal information.

Here’s how you can spot and avoid a vaccine scam, according to the group:

  • Do not buy any kind of COVID-19 vaccine or treatment from the internet or an online pharmacy.
  • Research carefully: Scammers call and text people, send them message on social media or will even go door to door. Be skeptical and do not respond to them.
  • Check with your doctor: If you want a vaccine early, contact your doctor, primary health care provider or local health department about your options.
  • Ignore calls for immediate action: Scammers will try to get you to act quickly before you can think about what you’re doing. Do not do that.
  • Double check URLs: Scammers use official-looking URLS — or website addresses — in their scams. But only a URL that ends in .gov is from the United States government. When in doubt, perform a separate internet search for the website.

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