The US Department of Justice (DoJ) warns of phishing attacks that use fake COVID-19 vaccine investigations to steal money from unsuspecting citizens or to deceive them into giving out their personal information.
The malicious agents behind these attacks promise potential victims cash or prizes, as long as they complete the fake investigations. In reality, however, they collect the personal information of unsuspecting victims to fuel fraudulent programs involving identity theft.
Specifically, the DoJ reported the following:
"Citizens receive surveys via email and message and are told that, as a gift to complete the survey, they can choose between various free prizes, such as an iPad Pro. The messages claim that citizens will only have to pay the shipping costs to receive their prize. Victims provide their credit card details and are charged for shipping costs, but never receive the promised reward. "Victims also expose their personal information to fraudsters, thus increasing the likelihood of identity theft."
DoJ Public Service recommends that you do not click on links you receive through messages or emails claiming to be vaccine research, if they come from unknown and unverified sources.
Citizens who have received phishing emails or messages using COVID-19 vaccine research samples are invited to report such incidents to the National Disaster Scam Center (NCDF) via the NCDF Complaint Form or by calling 866-720-5721.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has revealed that the number of petitions about identity theft doubled in 2020 compared to 2019, with a record 1,4 million reports by citizens within one year.
On March 31, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) warned of an active phishing campaign targeting educational institutions.
In addition, the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) has released additional information about an ongoing series of attacks that have already led to the theft of personal information belonging to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.
To protect yourself from identity theft attempts, you can obtain an identity PIN as soon as possible to prevent identity thieves from filing "fraudulent" tax returns in your name using your stolen personal information. More details on how to identify and protect against such phishing attacks are available on the FBI and FTC sites.
Source of information: bleepingcomputer.com