February 12, 2021

Virginia Beach Health Department Warns of Fraud Schemes Related to COVID-19 Vaccines

The Virginia Beach Department of Public Health (VBDPH) is warning residents of bad actors who may be attempting to take advantage of people anxious to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. VBDPH advises residents to be aware of potential scams related to the vaccine.

Bad actors may register website domains related to COVID-19. These fake websites and applications may claim to provide an opportunity to register for a vaccine, provide testing results, or other resources, however, they are used to steal credentials, bank account information, or to infect your devices with malware.

The health department has been made aware of scam emails attempting to convince the recipient to reveal sensitive information (i.e. bank account information) by demanding payment in order to receive a vaccine. Other scams may be designed to compel the recipient to open a malicious link or attachment, allowing them to potentially access the recipient's system. Clever phishing emails will look legitimate and will likely impersonate well-known and trusted entities. Never open any link or attachment from a source that you cannot clearly identify as being legitimate.

Tips and warning signs:

  • Legitimate vaccine appointment invitation emails from VBDPH will be sent from VaccinateVB@vdh.virginia.gov.
  • You should never be asked to pay for a vaccine or for early access to a vaccine. Vaccines are free to all residents.
  • The VBDPH will never ask for your Social Security number, driver's license number or bank information in order to receive a vaccine.
  • You may be asked to provide health insurance information, but insurance is not required to receive the vaccine.
  • Scammers may pose as legitimate businesses or organizations related to the distribution of the vaccine, including the VBDPH, in an effort to steal your personal or financial information.
  • Before clicking on any links, ensure that any email you receive related to the vaccine is coming from a legitimate source before clicking links or opening attachments. You may also hover your mouse over links to see where they lead to ensure the URL is legitimate.
  • Anything that conveys a sense of urgency to click a link or provide information should be regarded as suspicious
  • Continuously update your passwords and update any default unsecure settings. Ensure backup protocols are in place with your devices
  • Never give out your personal information, including banking information, passwords Social Security Number, etc. over the phone or via email.

If you believe you have been targeted for a vaccine-related scam or suspected fraud, please contact the Virginia Department of Health at 877-ASK-VDH3 (877-275-8343).

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine and related resources in Virginia Beach, visit the state's website at vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine or the City's emergency site at emergency.vbgov.com/coronavirus.

For more information about COVID-19-Related Phone Scams and Phishing Attacks, visit cdc.gov/media/phishing.html or fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/beware-fraudulent-coronavirus-tests-vaccines-and-treatments.

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