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article imageConcern over the rapid rise in COVID vaccine fraud emails Special

By Tim Sandle     Jan 4, 2021 in Health
US federal agencies have warned about scammers exploiting the public's interest in the COVID-19 vaccine to harvest personal information and steal money through multiple ongoing and emerging fraud schemes. This is often coupled with financial scams.
The warning comes from the FBI National Press Office by the FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. According to the FBI, several U.S. governmental bodies "have received complaints of scammers using the public’s interest in COVID-19 vaccines to obtain personally identifiable information (PII) and money through various schemes."
The types of fraud schemes that are commonplace, Bleeping Computer reports, are:
Emails offering early access to vaccines conditioned by payment in advance.
Requests to pay out to receive a vaccine or to get added to a waiting list,.
Offers to ship doses of the vaccine in exchange of money transfers.
Each of these is a scam and an attempt at fraud.
Commenting for Digital Journal on the issue is Mark Bagley, VP of Product at AttackIQ.
Bagley looks at the extent of the cyber-threat landscape for consumers and businesses alike: "Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen threat actors leverage this global crisis to steal intellectual property and create general unrest - almost since the first cases began to appear."
This has extended in the context of the pharmaceutical vaccine announcements, says Bagley: "Now that vaccine distribution has begun, it’s no surprise hostile actors are using this event to launch another wave of scams and attacks."
The attempts to scam and defraud go beyond the medical and embrace the financial, notes Bagley. He states: "In addition to the problem of threat actors scamming the public for financial information, it is also worth noting that digital platforms and social media are often part of these adversary campaigns. These platforms provide a larger territory for adversaries to perform cyberattacks and spread disinformation."
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