Con artists pose as FEMA in vaccine scam - Albuquerque Journal

Con artists pose as FEMA in vaccine scam

Here’s another one to add to the ever-expanding list of COVID scams.

Con artists claiming to be with the Federal Emergency Management Agency are contacting people and saying they are following up on the person’s vaccine, according to the Better Business Bureau.

In one case, the caller requested the prospective victim’s Social Security number, saying the person had failed to fill out all the paperwork when getting the shot.

It’s really just another effort to vacuum up people’s personal information.

Avoid this by remaining wary about out-of-the-blue calls, emails or text messages claiming to be from a government agency.

“In general, the government will not contact you using these methods, unless you granted permission,” the BBB says.

Also, be on the lookout for supposed agencies that use a made-up name. Sometimes, it will be similar enough to the legitimate name to create confusion. And that’s the point.

“Research to see if the government agency or organization that contacted you actually exists,” the BBB advises.

*

If you plan to shop on Amazon Prime Day (June 21-22), be aware that Amazon scams account for “a significant percentage of internet retail fraud,” according to the Identity Theft Resource Center.

Amazon came in at No. 4 on a list of brands most associated with phishing attempts in 2020, according to Check Point Software Technologies.

“Amazon scams are so prevalent simply because they tend to work,” the resource center says. “With the sheer number of Amazon and Amazon Prime customers using the website, there is a good chance that any phishing attempt hiding behind the Amazon name and logo will find its way to a customer.”

Some common ones are phishing scams that try to get you to click on a link and then enter personal information. Sometimes, it will be an entry into your computer so the scammer can install a virus.

Watch for these red flags:

– A message like this: “There is a problem with your account. Please click here to verify your account or change your password.”

– Or like this: “Here is your receipt and shipping confirmation” for some strange product you did not order. If you have questions or are confused, go to “Your Orders” on the website to see if there’s an item mentioned in the email or text, Amazon says.

– And here’s another common one: “Please verify your payment method.”

– Requests to update payment information that are not linked to an Amazon order you placed or an Amazon service you subscribed to. Again, Amazon advises going to “Your Orders.” If you aren’t prompted to update your payment method on that screen, the message isn’t from Amazon.

Also, watch for requests for product reviews after Prime Day, even if you didn’t buy anything. Sometimes, the request will include a cash reward for reviewing, the resource center says.

Paying someone for a review violates Amazon’s rules and could lead to problems with your account. And it could lead to theft of your personal information or malware issues if the scammer gains access to your computer.

Contact Ellen Marks at emarks@abqjournal.com or 505-823-3842 if you are aware of what sounds like a scam. To report a scam to law enforcement, contact the New Mexico Consumer Protection Division toll-free at 1-888-255-9210 or file a complaint at www.nmag.gov/file-a-complaint.aspx.

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