The next time you receive a text message from a number you’re unfamiliar with, beware. A new scam targets unsuspecting New Yorkers by attempting to verify their COVID-19 vaccination status.
“These scams basically pretend to be the Department of Health,” said New York Deputy Secretary of State for Economic Opportunity Vilda Mayuga. “Unfortunately, ever since, especially the pandemic, there has been a lot of them.”
The phishing-style scam consists of fraudulent texts that appear to be from the state Department of Health. They usually include a link that could trick your device into installing software designed to steal your personal information.
What You Need To Know
- A new scam is targeting New Yorkers by attempting to verify their COVID-19 vaccination status
- The phishing-style scam consists of fraudulent texts that appear to be from the state Department of Health
- They usually include a link that could trick you and your device into installing software designed to steal your information
“Your name, date of birth, Social Security number, bank account information,” said Mayuga.
Experts say the pandemic has been a feeding frenzy for scammers.
“Remote work has been a factor in that. People are an easier target when they’re at home,” said Kathleen Moriarty, chief technology officer at the Center for Internet Security (CIS).
CIS is a Capital Region-based nonprofit that works to secure IT systems and data around the world.
Moriarty says scammers will often tug at a person’s emotions to convince them to click.
“The pandemic is, of course, a target because we’re all interested to know the latest news, to understand how it’s evolving and our options,” she said.
Spelling errors and other simple things are often red flags indicating something is off.
“Be hesitant anytime you receive a message from somebody you don’t know, and even in some cases from someone you do know,” she said.
Officials are reminding folks that state agencies will never request sensitive information via text or email.
“Anything that includes a threat is just not going to be from the government,” Mayuga said. “The government does not send threats to obtain information from individuals.”