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Scammers using vaccine texts as a trap to get personal information

Posted at 7:00 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 19:00:51-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. —Florida officials warning you to watch out for text messages promising a COVID-19 vaccination.

The Florida Department of Financial services says the pandemic is the best recipe for scammers. Thousands of people are doing whatever it takes to get a vaccine, like Marcy Mamane of Lee County.

“I had to walk on my walker, and by the time I got up there, they yelled at us go home. We're already at number 600 or something, and there's going to be no more shots today,” she told Fox 4 last week after several attempts to get vaccinated..

Bryan Oglesby with the Better Business Bureau says scam artists are sending text messages to folks like Mamane, promising a vaccine. He says they’ll likely have a link or a phone number to call, but don’t click on either one.

“Search out the health department’s website. Contact them on the phone number that they provide on their website. Not a phone number provided in those text messages,” said Oglesby.

He says there are other signs to watch out for, too. like links without an “https” at the beginning or websites claiming to be government official, but don’t end in “.gov.” He says the tricks don’t stop there. Oglesby says the number one clue to a scam is if the person on the other end of that phone found you.

“It’s all about the unsolicited communication to you. If you receive an unsolicited text or email that’s not something you sought out,” he said.

Oglesby says health departments may ask you for your name, your address and maybe your date of birth, but that’s about it. If someone requests information like your credit card number or social security number, hang up immediately.