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‘Vaccination incentive’ scams are targeting central Albertans

Police warn people not to reveal financial information online
(Black Press file photo).

RCMP are warning central Albertans about a new “vaccination incentive” scam.

Recipients will get a text message on their cell phones that is supposedly from Alberta Health Services.

The message is regarding the “Vaccine Incentive Program” and states: “For receiving your COVID-19 immunizations, AHS sent you $100.”

Recipients are asked to click on a link that will take them to an unfamiliar website. It will either ring up charges or ask them to reveal some personal banking or financial information.

Kerry Williamson, spokesperson for Alberta Health Services, said in an email on Friday that AHS is aware of reports of this scam, in which Albertans are promised money for getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

The text messages appear to be from AHS but are definitely not. “AHS will never send a text requesting personal or credit card information and is not offering incentives for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Williamson.

He advised Albertans who receive one of these scam texts to report it by calling a non-emergency police line.

Williamson doesn’t believe the scammers have anyone’s personal health information. “Our understanding is that it’s totally random…they just target anyone (vaccinated or unvaccinated).”

Corp. Mike Evans, of Red Deer RCMP’s community policing unit, said he isn’t familiar with this particular scam, but isn’t surprised by it either.

Unfortunately, as technology advances someone is always figuring out ways to use it to take advantage of others, said Evans.

“These are fishing calls. They’re fishing for someone to make a reply.”

Evans warns central Albertans to never provide private information online to unknown sources.

Banks, or arms of government, like the Canadian Revenue Agency, never connect with people by cell phone for financial reasons, he added.

“The government does not do anything by text.”

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