Recently criminals are using Covid-19 and the vaccination programme as a way to trick people into handing over cash or bank details. They’re sending text messages and phoning people letting them know they are eligible for the vaccine, pretending to be from the NHS, or your local pharmacy.
What kind of scams should I look out for?
There are various types of scams taking place now, but the top 4 are:
- Text messages - you’re asked to press a number on their keypad or to send a text message to confirm they wish to receive the vaccine. When you do this it’s likely that a charge is being applied to your phone bill and fraudsters will be collecting personal information to use again.
- Phone calls - you receive a phone call from a fake caller offering the vaccine for a fee or asking for bank details.
- Websites - fake website links and convincing-looking NHS vaccine booking forms are being sent via email. They look like official NHS forms and may contain some personal information already, at the end of the form it asks for your bank details.
- In person - fraudsters are pretending to be from the NHS to administer the vaccine there and then, in exchange for a cash payment.
The NHS will never:
- ask for payment – the vaccine is free
- ask for bank details
- arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine
- ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport.
Tips to protect yourself against scams
- Ignore any requests that don’t feel right. It’s ok to reject, refuse anything that seems fake.
- Don’t respond to text messages that try to get you to send money, or important personal information such as bank details or passwords.
- Use official government websites and refer to ‘contact us’ sections of websites to access information and services.
- Challenge unannounced callers to your home. NHS visits will be agreed with you directly or via carers. They’ll never turn up unannounced.
For more information visit GOV.UK.
If you believe you’ve been a victim of fraud or identity theft you should report this directly to Action Fraud.