FCC and cybersecurity experts warn about new COVID-19 survey scam targeting senior citizens

Posted at 10:58 PM, Apr 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-01 23:14:56-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — 84-year-old Billie Sanders knows what she is talking about.

“Well it has been going on for many years, they have been scamming people for something, so I’m aware that that goes on all the time,” said Billie Sanders, a fully vaccinated Fort Myers Resident.

It was no surprise when she heard about the new scam that's targeting people like her and their COVID- 19 vaccination.

“They vaccinate everyone here so we did not have to go out and worry about transportation. I read everything my resident advisor sent us, I read all the information to be aware of things like this,” said Sanders.

Sanders is talking about the COVID- 19 survey scam, which’s making it harder for seniors who are already facing challenges trying to get the vaccine.

“ I think about people who are disabled and can’t get out or don't have computers and many people who do have computers don't know how to use one. It’s disheartening that they would not have any concern for people who would probably be their grandparent's age or great-grandparent's age,” said Sanders.

On March 24, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission put out a warning about this new COVID survey scam saying, through emails or text messages, scammers ask you to take part in a survey about your experience receiving the Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca vaccines, and for you doing the survey, there’s a reward, but you have to pay the shipping fees to receive it.

However, if you see this message, don’t respond.

“If you receive a text message with a link you do not know, literally don’t click the link, reply stop, and block that caller. If you receive an email and that email looks like it takes you to a link that you do not know or an attachment, right away you want to be able to delete that as well. If you get a request to pay for anything related to the vaccine, it is free, so understand immediately that also is a scam,” said Ian Marlow, President of FiTechGelb.

If you’ve received the vaccine but have not seen this survey scam, come across your device, you’re not in the clear because posting about getting the vaccine on social media makes you a target for identity theft.

“You may speak to your friends, but doing the selfie on the second round of the shot, showing your card is definitely causing identity issues,” said Marlow.

Sanders like many has a family that looks out for her, which Marlow says is key when steering clear from any of the COVID 19 vaccine scams out there in cyberspace.

“These are very smart individuals, and they are also very very persistent and they are clawing to the idea that this is all around fear,” said Marlow.

“I only answer the phone when I recognize a phone number, listen to the news, and I read my email messages from my children,” said Sanders.