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COVID-19 survey scams surface as vaccine rollout continues


Some scammers are using COVID-19 surveys to steal money or personal information from people, according to the Better Business Bureau.

Regional BBB Director Michelle Gleba said, in some cases, the scam will start with an email or text claiming to be from a pharmaceutical company producing an approved coronavirus vaccine. 

The message will sometimes contain offers of money for completing a survey or will give an option to win a free product.

Gleba said the link may then lead to a real survey, but when it's completed the link will redirect to a page to sign up for a free trail offer, asking users to enter personal financial information.

The BBB said victims have been billed for a product that never ends up showing up.

"Victims told us they entered credit card information to pay what they thought was a shipping fee. Instead, the scammers billed them for something that never arrived," Gleba said.

The BBB said there are red flags to look out for:

  • You receive an email that claims to have information about you, but you never signed up for it
  • Being pushed to act immediately
  • Typos, strange phrasing or bad grammar
  • The URL or hyperlinked text will say one thing, but the link will point somewhere else

One victim who received an email from what appeared to be the Pfizer drug company reported this scam to the BBB on Tuesday. The report showed a membership fee of $49.95 was charged on their account, even though they didn't sign up for a membership.

Anthony Desha, the owner of Flo's Pharmacy said pharmacies won't offer a free gift or reward for filling out a survey.

"Call the pharmacy before you open anything, also, (pharmacies) would especially not offer anyone a gift," Desha said.

If someone comes across a COVID-19 survey scam, the BBB asks you to report it to on its scam tracker.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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Zola Crowder

Zola Crowder joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in June 2020 after graduating from the University of Missouri with a broadcast journalism degree. Before reporting at ABC 17, Zola was a reporter at KOMU where she learned to cover politics, crime, education, economics and more.


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