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COVID-19: Alert Issued For Text Message Phishing Scheme On Vaccine Verification

An example of one of the phishing scam forms An example of one of the phishing scam forms
An example of one of the phishing scam forms Photo Credit: New York State
An example of one of the fradulent texts An example of one of the fradulent texts
An example of one of the fradulent texts Photo Credit: New York State

State officials are warning New Yorkers about a new scam where individuals attempt to steal information by pretending to be the state Department of Health attempting to validate COVID-19 vaccination status.

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection issued the alert on Tuesday, Oct. 12, saying scammers are exploiting policies by employers requiring certain employees to be vaccinated. 

The individuals text or email a fraudulent link asking people to enter their personal information. 

Officials said anyone who receives these messages should immediately delete them.

To protect against these scams, the state Office of Information Technology Services and the Division of Consumer Protection recommend the following precautions:

  • Do exercise caution with all communications you receive, including those that appear to be from a trusted entity. Inspect the sender’s information to confirm the message was generated from a legitimate source.
  • Do keep an eye out for telltale signs of phishing - poor spelling or grammar, the use of threats, the URL does not match that of the legitimate site. If the message does not feel right, chances are it is not.
  • Don't click on links embedded in an unsolicited message from an unverified source.
  • Don't send your personal information via text. Legitimate businesses will not ask users to send sensitive personal information through text message.
  • Don't post sensitive information online. The less information you post, the less data you make available to a cybercriminal for use in developing a potential attack or scams.

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