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Fraudsters Use Bogus Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine Surveys to Steal Personal Info and Money in Ongoing Scam Campaign

Alina BÎZGĂ

May 12, 2021

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Fraudsters Use Bogus Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine Surveys to Steal Personal Info and Money in Ongoing Scam Campaign

Scammers continue to piggyback on the pandemic and vaccination campaigns in a new giveaway vaccine survey scam purportedly from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

According to Bitdefender Antispam Lab’s latest telemetry, the survey scam has reached over 200,000 consumers since April. Our analysis shows a geo-targeted dispersal of the spam campaign, with 69.98% of the targeted users in the US.

Additional areas of interest for the scammers include Ireland with 12.39%, Sweden with 3.40%, Denmark with 3.23%, South Korea with 2.92%, the UK with 1.28% and Germany with 1.15%.

49.75% of the attacks appear to have originated from the Netherlands, 25.08% from the US and 23.36% from Germany.

Congratulations! You can get a $50 Pfizer gift card!

Fraudsters are using the pharmaceutical company’s name to steal money and personal information in a fake Covid-19 vaccine survey. Scammers invite users to participate in a rewards program for adults who provide their opinion about the Pfizer vaccine. They promote the survey as anonymous, free and, with just a little luck, participants can receive a reward valued at up to $100.

Recipients who take the bait and click on the ‘Start Survey Now’ button are taken to a suspicious URL that immediately loads a captcha.

Regardless of whether or not users verify their human identity, they are redirected to the survey page.

If you look closely, the proposed ‘short survey’ is not about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Indeed, many brands invite consumers to fill out a survey to gain small rewards or discounts on their next purchase. However, most of the free products or rewards are of modest value. In this case, the crooks leverage the buzz around nationwide vaccination campaigns to scrape user information and make money.

In exchange for filling out the bogus survey, victims are offered a free reward but are asked to pay a nominal fee to cover shipping.

Fraudsters often use different survey tricks to gain users’ trust, including impersonating legitimate companies. Bitdefender Antispam Lab has also spotted similar survey/giveaway scams impersonating popular businesses.

To ensure maximum efficiency and lure in more victims, fraudsters experiment with many brand names, including Lowes, eBay, SamsClub and IKEA in an ongoing survey scam campaign:

  • Congratulations! You can get a $50 eBay gift card!
  • Congratulations! You can get a $50 Lowes gift card!
  • Congratulations! You can get a $50 Coke gift card!
  • Congratulations! You can get a $50 Ikea gift card!
  • Congratulations! You can get a $50 SamsClub gift card!
  • Congratulations! You can get a $50 CVS gift card!
  • Congratulations! You can get a $50 Verizon gift card!

These survey scams are a creative way to steal the personal and financial information from individuals. Many of them offer a reward and provide a limited window of opportunity to fill out the survey and claim a prize. By default, a legitimate survey will not come with an assigned time limit, and will not ask for your credit card or bank account number to claim any rewards. There is no doubt that fraudsters will continue to leverage the vaccination efforts and bombard inboxes with limited-time surveys about the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Note: This article is based on technical information provided courtesy of Bitdefender Antispam Lab.

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