Illustration for article titled Don't Fall for the 'Vaccine Survey' scamPhoto: Star Stock (Shutterstock)

With most people already having their COVID auxiliary checks, the Grifters have focused on phishing attempts related to vaccines – and this has surprised people. The FTC warns people Stay away from unsolicited texts or emails that offer a reward for completing a vaccine survey as it is a scam. Here’s what you need to know and how to avoid it.

How does the scam work?

A scammer posing as a vaccine manufacturer sends you a vaccine survey request via email or SMS. These requests also promise a reward for completing the survey, sometimes in cash or more often as a “free gift” like an iPad. The survey questions will also appear authentic, which may explain why so many people fell for the scam (as one victim put it: “Nothing about the survey that raised my suspicions – and I’m a skeptic!”).

However, in order to receive the award, you will be asked to pay a lower shipping or handling fee and to enter your banking information on an incorrect form. Of course, no prize is ever shipped or processed. The scammers will try to steal your money using your bank account information along with any other personal information you have shared.

Illustration for article titled Don't Fall for the 'Vaccine Survey' scam

G / O Media can receive a commission

How to avoid survey fraud

The FTC says no legitimate surveys will ever ask for your credit card or bank account number in order to “pay for” a free reward. And there’s no reason a vaccine manufacturer would need personal information like your social security number or date of birth – especially in unsolicited email text. The Better Business Bureau, which also has issued a warning offers the following tips on how to avoid survey fraud:

  • The email claims it has information about you, but you never signed up for it. Scams often pretend to be personalized for you, but they are actually emails. Don’t fall for it! If you’ve never signed up for company email, you shouldn’t get it.
  • Urges you to act immediately: Scammers usually try to get you to act before you have had time to think. Always be wary of emails asking you to take immediate action or to draw conclusions.
  • Watch out for typos, strange phrases, and bad grammar. Scammers can easily copy the brand name, but awkward phrasing and poor grammar are usually a giveaway for the message that the message was a scam. For example, one version of the survey scam posing as Pfizer uses the fake company logo.
  • Hover over urls to reveal the real destination. Typically, the hyperlinked text says one thing, but the link points to another place. Make sure the links actually lead to the company’s official website and not to a variation on the domain name.

If you receive an email or text asking for your personal information and you think it may be a scam, report it to the FTC at