Scammers targeting people searching for COVID-19 vaccines — here’s what to watch out for

Problem Solvers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If you’re tired of waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine, there are sites on the dark web willing to sell it to you.

They’re just some of the plethora of scams popping up all over the internet trying to cash in on the coronavirus vaccine.

Checkpoint, a cyber security company, has found that 1,060 scam vaccine websites have popped up online just since November.

“They are trying to accept payment in the form of bitcoin, which is hard to trace, and then they won’t ever send you anything,” said Maya Levine, a cyber security expert with Checkpoint.

Levine said scammers are also spoofing government websites, trying to entrap people registering for the vaccine. The scam sites often contain malware that will be downloaded to a user’s phone or computer once a link has been clicked.

“My advice is instead of clicking on the link, go through the official website of whomever they are imitating and see if you can get the same deal there,” Levine said.

For example, if you get a text message from Kansas City saying it’s your turn for the vaccine “just click here,” don’t do it. Instead, go to the city’s website. You should be able to find the same information there without taking a risk.

What happens if you mistakenly fall victim to the scammers and click on a bad link?

Levine recommended backing up everything on your phone or laptop and then wiping the device clean. That’s the only way you can know for sure you’ve gotten rid of any malware that might have been installed.

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