Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey issued an updated advisory to residents on COVID-19 vaccine related scams and misinformation on Tuesday, March 30.
Healey’s office has received reports of spam and scam emails or texts. Some individuals received the contact shortly after they’ve received or registered for vaccines through legitimate websites.
The timing is likely coincidental now that over two million Massachusetts residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. There have been no reported breaches of patient information from legitimate websites.
“We’ve been in touch with our state and health care partners to ensure patient information isn’t being shared, compromised, or sold through official vaccine websites. We want people to be confident about signing up for and receiving the vaccine through those sites, while remaining vigilant about vaccine scams,” Healey said.
The updated advisory urged residents to follow the following advice:
- Be Cautious: Don’t respond to or click on links from a person or company you do not know, especially if it asks for personal or financial information. Many of these are phishing attempts.
- Contact the person or company directly using a phone number or website you know is real.
- Never provide personal information, including passwords, bank account details, or your Social Security number via email or text to an unverified source.
- Be Wary of Requests for Payment: Be wary of any unsolicited offers that require you to provide credit card or bank account information or ask for payment or a deposit in exchange for early or expediated access to vaccines.
- You cannot pay to jump the line
- Massachusetts residents do not have to pay out of pocket for the vaccine.
- Disinformation Campaigns: AG Healey urged Facebook and Twitter to take stronger measures to stop the spread of dangerous anti-vaxxer disinformation on their social media platforms. Online campaigns with a range of disinformation have flourished, sparking fear and distrust about vaccines.
- Report Spam or Scams: General spam emails (emails without any of your personal information) should be reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. If you have reason to think that your personal information has been compromised, contact the AG’s Office at [email protected]
Healey's office last issued a COVID-19 related scam advisory in December.