COVID and scams
Fraudsters are trying to capitalize on the rollout of COVID vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccine is not for sale and cannot be purchased anywhere, including online pharmacies. The vaccine is only available at federal- and state-approved locations, such as health care clinics, local health departments, community vaccination centers, and pharmacies. Claims otherwise are a scam. You should not have to pay out of pocket to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The federal government and the DHS will not call, text, or email you seeking personal or financial information.
Therefore, do not give out your personal or financial information. Don’t click on links in unsolicited emails or text messages. It could download a virus onto your computer or device. Even emails and posts that seem to be asking you to sign up for a vaccine list, promoting vaccine availability, or promoting awareness and prevention tips may contain dangerous links.
Contact tracing scams:
Contact tracing identifies people who have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, which will help states more rapidly identify those who may have been exposed and quickly get them the necessary support and resources that can help protect them and their loved ones. Contact tracers authorized to work in Wisconsin will identify themselves with a first and last name, and the name of the government entity they are calling from, such as DHS or a local health department.
Scammers pretending to be contact tracers may call, text, or email also send text or email messages asking residents to click a link. These are often “phishing” scams that help a scammer gain access to a person’s computer, your financial information, and/or personal information. If you receive a message like this, confirm it is legitimate by calling your healthcare provider directly.
Legitimate contact tracers will not ask for money or for personal information like your Social Security, bank account, or credit card number. If a contact tracer wants to confirm your identity through a birthdate or your address, they should be able to provide that information to you.
Other ongoing scams:
With many Wisconsinites doing more online shopping from the safety of their homes, there has been an increase in package deliveries, and greater opportunity for delivery scams. Scammers typically start with a text message or an email about delivering a package to your address. These messages include a “tracking link” that you are urged to click in order to update your delivery or payment preferences. You might also get a voicemail message with a call-back number, or a “missed delivery” tag on your door with a number to call.
While these messages often look or sound legitimate, you should never click a link or call back the number from an unexpected delivery notice. These links may open a website that prompts you to enter personal information, or it may install malware on your phone or computer that can secretly steal personal information. Consumers who receive suspicious email, text, or phone messages should go to their delivery carrier’s website directly or use the retailer’s tracking tools to verify the communication.
If you are worried something may be a scam, contact the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) at their Consumer Protection Hotline: 800.422.7128 or firstname.lastname@example.org to check it out.