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Beware of scam posing as COVID vaccine surveys

State Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning Michiganders who have received or plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine to avoid vaccine survey scams that offer a reward in exchange for personal information.

The Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigations, in collaboration with a number of other federal agencies, recently alerted the public about an increasing number of people receiving email and/or text messages after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Those messages encourage participation in a fraudulent post-vaccine survey with the promise of cash or a prize upon completion. The bogus surveys reportedly ask victims to pay for shipping and handling in order to receive a prize that is never delivered.

“Scammers continue to find ways to steal personal information and although many who have received the COVID vaccine have a sense of pride, it is crucial that people avoid sharing their vaccination cards for this exact reason,” Nessel said. “Bad actors are resourceful and with any piece of personally identifiable information, they will work hard to find out more about you. If you do receive a suspicious email or text, remember to never click on any unsolicited links or attachments, and also remember that no legitimate surveys will ever ask for your credit card or bank account number to pay for a ‘free’ reward.”

The Intellectual Property Rights Center provided this information and tips to avoid being victimized:

— No post-vaccine surveys are being conducted by Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.

— Any emails or text messages that claim to be sent on behalf of these companies seeking personal financial information are illegitimate and fraudulent, as these companies would never request an advanced payment for shipping or other expenses.

— Do not open any messages or click on any links or attachments.

— Never give out bank account, credit card or personal information.

Residents also can:

— Report “smishing” — fraudulent — text messages to 7726 (SPAM) for investigation.

— Filter unwanted text messages through your wireless provider or with a call-blocking app.

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