Scam Alert: Department of Health warning New Yorkers of text phishing scam

Consumer Reports

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State Division of Consumer Protection and the New York State Department of Health (DOH) are warning New Yorkers of a text message phishing scheme. The scam is targeting those attempting to validate vaccine status to try to steal personal information.

Phishing texts are messages designed to get data and personal information in order to commit identity theft or trick the recipient into installing malicious software onto a device.

New York and many private employers recently required certain employees to be fully vaccinated. DOH said scammers are exploiting the policy to try to steal people’s personal and private information. The illegitimate text message attempts to impersonate DOH and tells the recipient they are required to enter their information to validate their vaccination status.

The site the message links to is also fraudulent. DOH said anyone who receives such a text message should delete it right away.

Last week, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles also warned New Yorkers about a text message phishing scam. That scam asked to verify your driver’s license information and to validate your COVID-19 status.

To protect against phishing scams, the NYS Office of Information Technology Services recommends:

  • Exercise caution with all communications you receive, including those that appear to be from a trusted source
  • Keep an eye out for signs of phishing – poor spelling or grammar, the use of threats, the URL does not match that of the legitimate site
  • Don’t click on links embedded in an unsolicited message from an unverified source
  • Don’t send your personal information over text
  • Don’t post sensitive personal information online

More information on phishing scams can be found on the Office of Information Technology Services website.

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