H1N1 scam spreading like the disease itself; CDC issues warning

Scammers are now capitalizing on fear of H1N1 (swine) flu and the limited availability of the vaccine to steal people's personal information.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning that an email is being circulated purporting to be about a CDC-sponsored state vaccination program. The email asks that recipients click a link to create a "personal profile" that collects personal information and installs malicious coding on the computers of those who click it.The email (a sample is below) begins: "You have received this email because of the launching of State Vaccination H1N1 Program" and says that everyone over the age of 18 must post their information to the CDC's web site.

While there is nothing that indicates exactly how the government agency got your email, as happens with these phishing scams, there will be some people who click through. The nature of these scams counts on the enormous volume of emails sent to collect enough victims to make the rouse profitable. Quite often, those perpetrating the scams are located in other countries, making it difficult -- if not impossible -- to stop them.

The CDC made it clear that there is no H1N1 vaccine program that requires anyone to register on their site. The agency offers the following advice:
  • Do not follow unsolicited links and do not open or respond to unsolicited email messages.
  • Use caution when visiting un-trusted websites.
  • Use caution when entering personal information online.
Here is what one of the emails looks like:

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