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Welcome to the ProtectMyID Blog

Lessons and stories from the front lines of fighting identity theft.

 

Phishing for Swine Flu

Jan 20

Swine Flu

This past year, we have witnessed the swine flu scare and heard how we can prevent ourselves from catching it.  There is so much hype surrounding this virus that when I recently went to the doctor’s office for my regular check up, I could not help but notice that the waiting room was filled with people.  I said to the receptionist, “Wow, there are a lot of sick people waiting to see the doctor,” to which she replied, “No, they’re not sick. A majority of them are waiting to get their H1N1 vaccination shot.”

With this threat, people are taking measures to protect themselves from catching the virus.  We now have a new threat to be concerned about, swine flu scams.  Yes, identity thieves are using swine flu related scams to entice people into submitting financial or personal information to be used for identity theft.  According to the Food and Drug Administration, since this past May, they have warned more than 75 Web sites selling more than 135 products to stop making fraudulent H1N1 flu claims.

One example of the many types of swine flu scams out there is the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) email scam.  How this operates is you would receive an email that looks like it came from the CDC.  The message tells you that you need to establish a “Personal H1N1 Vaccination Profile” with a link for you to create one.  The link then takes you to what looks like an official CDC website.  When you get to that website, it asks for you to provide important health and personal information.  It also includes links for you to download which could contain damaging viruses.

Word of advice: Don’t open unsolicited emails and certainly don’t click on links or download information from these types of communication. If you really want to know something, go directly to the site or trusted news sources for information on the swine flu virus.

8 Comments Add your comment

  1. Court
    Jan 20 at 13:48

    Very interesting, I had not heard about this scam yet. Thanks for sharing.

    [Reply]

  2. Amber
    Jan 20 at 15:24

    Wow! What is this world coming to? What will people think up next to steal people’s money?

    [Reply]

  3. ID-Alvin
    Jan 20 at 15:30

    Hello Court! Thanks for your feedback and we appreciate you got insight from this entry. We hope you share this information with your family and friends.

    [Reply]

  4. ID-Alvin
    Jan 20 at 15:34

    Hello Amber! I know what you mean; hopefully people will be proactive and take preventative measures from becoming an identity theft victim.

    [Reply]

  5. Ryder
    Jan 20 at 20:52

    Here’s another good site regarding the swine flu and online swine flu scams:
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-10-22-swine-flu-scams_N.htm?csp=34
    Hope it helps.

    [Reply]

    ID-Alvin Reply:

    Hello Ryder! Thanks for the info – we appreciate it.

    [Reply]

  6. Scott
    Jan 21 at 17:20

    It used to be that you could tell the scams based solely upon the mis-spellings in the email. Obviously scammers have become much more sophisticated (and they’ve learned how to spell).

    Is there a central resource we can visit to keep updated on scams like this ?

    [Reply]

  7. ID-Alvin
    Jan 22 at 15:03

    Hello Scott! Yes, I agree with you – one of the red flags of an email scam is there would be spelling errors, however fraudsters are getting savvier by the minute and most have discovered spellcheck : -)
    Another source to educate yourself on identity theft/scams, other than this blog, is the Identity Theft Resource Center http://www.idtheftcenter.org/
    We hope you pass this information along to your family and friends.

    [Reply]

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