Cybercriminals infiltrate through the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine!
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States’ premier intelligence agency, put out a warning about frauds related to COVID-19 vaccines. “The FBI, HHS-OIG, and CMS 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,” warns the agency, before going on to provide details on potential indicators of fraudulent activity.
This is a grave problem especially from an Indian perspective — illiteracy looms large in a major chunk of our population making them susceptible to being misled. An escalating issue, The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a circular to the public warning them about a ‘pay and register’ scheme scamming people under the pretext of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
The aforementioned FBI’s official warning has an extensive list of potential fraudulent indicators that deserves your attention. Awareness is the key to protect against vaccine-related threats and to fight the spread of misinformation. Consumers should only follow trusted local & regional news sources to be aware of vaccine distribution programs. Authentic information on distribution schedules will ensure that you are not a victim of a cyberattack.
Here are a few tips that will help you to stay away from the perils of this particular scam –
Be suspicious of clicking on links asking for personal information
Tricking people into believing that they have been chosen for vaccination is becoming common. Practice caution when you receive links asking to fill in personal information — refrain if you sense suspicion.
Don’t transfer money without proper verification
Another way in which adversaries are using the pandemic for personal gain is by tricking unsuspecting people into sending money over to them in return for the vaccine. Don’t send money to someone who promises to vaccinate you or your family — it is most likely a scam.
Impersonation is rampant — stay calm
Cybercriminals might trick you by disguising as officials from health ministries, pharmaceutical companies or corporate offices. Stay calm and verify the legitimacy of the source so that you don’t fall for impersonation tactics.
Misinformation and fake news
Fake news is one of the greatest threats of our age — misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine has not been an exception. Various conspiracy theories have already started propagating about the vaccine, amplified by social media messaging. If you get messages with facts trying to scare you about the vaccine, don’t get taken in by the misinformation — verify the source and stop the chain of fake news.