THE COVID VACCINE SURVEY SCAM

Dr. Sherry McCoy PhD

is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles. Follow SSSAP on Facebook . For more info re: SSSAP, contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.com. Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or nbynews@juno.com.

THE COVID VACCINE SURVEY SCAM

Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD – Stop Senior Scams ℠ Acting Program

It’s May 2021 and Spring has sprung.  Flowers are in bloom everywhere!  Here in Southern California, the Jacaranda trees are dotting the landscape with purple flowers wherever you go. Of course, flowers and Jacaranda trees are not the only things that are in bloom.  Across the nation, most of us regular folks are busy with spring cleaning, putting away winter things, planting a spring garden, etc.  But let us not forget that scammers are busy, too – tirelessly dreaming up ways to separate us from our hard-earned cash and retirement funds!  And now that most seniors have gotten their COVID vaccine shots, the con artists have cooked up a new fraudulent scheme to take advantage of us.  It’s called the “COVID Vaccine Survey Scam.” Let’s learn as much as we can about this dirty scam and share that knowledge with as many people as possible!  Let’s stop this scam in its tracks – Right now! What better way to celebrate the Month of May, which has been designated Older Americans Month since 1965.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE COVID VACCINE SURVEY SCAM

Imagine you’ve just gotten your second COVID vaccine shot.  You’re elated!  You can’t wait to tell all your friends and share the good news.  You go home, turn on your computer and get ready to send out an email about it.  That’s when you spot a new email in your inbox.  It appears to be from a government agency, or perhaps a banking institution, or some shipping company.  The email offers you an opportunity to share your experience about receiving the COVID vaccine. All you have to do is fill out an online survey form.  And to thank you for sharing your experience, you will receive a FREE prize!  There are many prizes to choose from, including an IPAD Pro. Once you’ve filled out the survey form and sent in the shipping and handling fees for the delivery of the FREE prize, you should expect to receive your prize within a few weeks.

The only problem is – This is all BOGUS. This is not a legitimate online survey. There is no FREE prize.  No IPAD Pro will ever arrive.  The whole thing is a sham.

According to the Department of Justice (https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2021/covid-19-survey-scam.html), American consumers across the nation are currently receiving bogus, unsolicited emails and texts offering them an opportunity to fill out a post-COVID vaccine survey form and receive a free prize; once the consumer pays for shipping and handling costs, however, no prize ever arrives. So, besides stealing your cash for a prize that doesn’t exist, the COVID vaccine survey scam is designed to steal your personal information – e.g., your Social Security number, banking or credit card info, etc., which leads to identity theft.  Beware – This scam packs a double punch.

REMEMBER:

  1. Legitimate companies will never ask you for your username or password, or your Social Security #.
  2. Never click on a link in an unsolicited email or text.
  3. If you think you have been the victim of a COVID Vaccine Survey Scam, please report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721.

If you believe you have been the target or victim of a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 or online at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1.  If you have questions about Medicare fraud / abuse or believe you have been the victim of Medicare fraud contact the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP*) at 1-855-613-7080.  If you feel you have been the target or victim of a scam, you may also report it to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging’s Fraud Hotline at 1-855-303-9470.

SAVE THE DATE

SSSAP is Going Virtual AGAIN in Collaboration with LAPL!

SSSAP’s 3rd virtual library program will be with Exposition Park – Dr. Mary McLeon Bethune Regional Library on May 6th at 3pm.  To RSVP and receive a zoom link for this event, please email Eugene Owens, Adult Librarian at eowens@lapl.org.  There will be a Q&A after each of these free virtual library programs.  We’d love to hear from you and hope to see you there!

SENIOR FRAUD AWARENESS DAY

May 15th will be designated for the 9th year in L.A City Council as Los Angeles Senior Fraud Awareness Day and the U.S Senate Special Committee on Aging will be designating a Day in May as National Senior Fraud Awareness Day.  Please join our mission to Stop Senior Scams!

STOP SENIOR SCAMS ACTING PROGRAM on YOUTUBE

Please go to the SSSAP YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjFjb-WPPr8KAXq1dlu1EvA to see our new videos. If you subscribe (free of charge), you will be notified when new videos are released.  Together we can Stop Senior Scams!  Here are links to two of our most recent videos:  “The Top Senior Scams with SSSAP” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cp097g7hTUg, and “Robocalls, Mail Fraud, and Merlin with SSSAP” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dA3noym9JPo&t=186s.

Remember:  You may be a target, but you don’t have to be a victim!

Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams ℠ Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles.  Follow SSSAP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SSSAP2016/?fref=ts.  For more info re: SSSAP, contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.com.  Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or nbynews@juno.com.

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