The Department of Justice said it has received reports of fraudsters creating fake COVID-19 vaccine surveys for consumers to fill out with the promise of a prize or cash at the conclusion of the survey.
However, the DOJ says that these surveys are actually being used to steal money from consumers and capture personal information.
Consumers reportedly receive the surveys by email and text message, and are told that, as a gift for filling out the survey, they can choose from various free prizes, such as an iPad Pro.
The messages say that the consumers only need to pay shipping and handling fees to receive their prize.
Victims provide their credit card information and are charged for shipping and handling fees, but never receive the promised prize, the DOJ said.
Victims are exposing their personally information to scammers, which increases the probability of identity theft.
The DOJ is warning consumers not to click on links in text messages or emails claiming to be a vaccine survey.
Authorities say you should always carefully examine any message purporting to be from a company and do not click on a link in an unsolicited email or text message.
If you receive a text message or email claiming to be a COVID-19 vaccine survey and containing a link or other contact information, you can report the communication to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) by calling 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud.
Intellectual property crimes such as these also may be reported to federal law enforcement at the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) at http://www.IPRCenter.gov.
If you believe you may have entered information into a fraudulent website, you can find resources on how to protect your information at: www.identitytheft.gov.