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Vaccine survey scams: Don't respond to surveys not from the CDC

Posted at 4:02 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-07 20:01:27-04

TULSA, Okla. — As the lines grew longer, the confusion over COVID-19 vaccines grew, too. But, there was excitement for some to get that shot.

"You don't think getting a shot is exciting, but it's nice to have that feeling," said Colleen Tressler, an educator with the Federal Trade Commission. "At least for me personally. I'm halfway there."

Tressler got her first shot on Monday. Simultaneously, she, like so many others, signed up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take a voluntary survey during the next few days to show how she's responding to the vaccine.

Tressler said that survey is legit. But she warns people about other fake surveys promising rewards and cash payments. Scam surveys are spreading like a contagious and confusing disease.

"I understand people want to be helpful," Tressler said. "They want to do their part, provide information, but the only real survey or questionnaire out there is coming from the CDC after you get your vaccine."

Tressler said scam vaccine survey texts, calls, and emails are bombarding people right now. Most appear to come from the companies manufacturing the vaccines like Pfizer, Moderna, Astrazeneca, and Johnson and Johnson.

"Scammers follow the headlines," she said. "They just pivot and follow whatever is new."

One 2 Works for You viewer wishes he had warned his elderly parents about scams. He doesn't want us to use his name, but his mom and dad responded to a text asking them questions about their vaccine.

In return, they would get a $90 gift card, and they just needed to pay for shipping it to them. After giving the scammer their checking account number, they lost $1,200 and had to close their account. All because of a random text cashing in on that COVID confusion and vaccine excitement.

"If anything comes to you out of the blue, that should be a red flag right there," Tressler said.

Other red flags we've warned about in the past include don't share your vaccine card on social media or with anyone since it has personal information on it. Also, don't get tricked into paying a fee to get your vaccine quicker.

While scammers target every age, experts said it's a good idea to talk with your elderly parents or grandparents about any potential scams before they become a victim.

When it comes to those texts and emails coming out of the blue, don't click on any links, open any attachments, or share personal and financial information. Don't return a call to a number found in an unsolicited text, email, or voicemail.

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