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Florida shuts down three fradulent phishing COVID-19 websites

This May 13, 2021, file photo shows syringes filled with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at a mobile vaccination site in Miami. (Wilfredo Lee, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement shut down three fraudulent websites attempting to steal driver license information. Last week, Attorney General Ashley Moody released a Consumer Alert, warning drivers about a new text phishing scam attempting to exploit the pandemic in order to obtain personal information.

The scam involves text messages sent to Floridians asking for personal information in order to remake driver licenses that show COVID-19 vaccination status. The websites even prompted targets to upload images of their driver licenses.

Attorney General Moody expressed her gratitude in having the websites shut down but warned Floridians to stay on alert as scammers are expected to create more fraudulent websites to continue the scam.

“I am grateful for the quick action of my attorneys and FDLE to identify and shut down these fraudulent websites, but our work is far from over,” she said. “Please remain vigilant, and if you encounter one of these fake driver license update websites, report it immediately.”

Attorney General Moody is asking Floridians to follow the tips below to avoid these types of imposter scams:

  • Know that the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is not requiring driver license updates listing proof of vaccination;
  • Do not automatically trust a number listed on a caller ID or in an unsolicited text message;
  • Do not post photos of vaccination cards or driver licenses online, as they can be used to commit identity fraud; and
  • Avoid clicking on links in a suspicious email or in a text message received from an unknown sender.

Attorney General Moody and her office began investigating this scam last week. You can read News4Jax’s original report on it here.

Report suspicious solicitations or COVID-19 vaccine-related advertisements to the Florida Attorney General’s Office by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM, or visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.