N/Watch Scam Alert
Alert - Coronavirus Vaccination Scams
As of 7 January 2021, Action Fraud had received 57 reports from members of the public who have been sent text messages claiming to be from the NHS, offering them the opportunity to sign up for coronavirus vaccinations. The texts ask the recipient to click on a link which takes them to an online form where they are prompted to input personal and financial details. In some cases the online form has looked very similar to the real NHS website.
Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said:
“Remember, the vaccine is only available on the NHS and is free of charge. The NHS will never ask you for details about your bank account or to pay for the vaccine. If you receive an email, text message or phone call purporting to be from the NHS and you are asked to provide financial details, this is a scam.”
How to protect yourself:
In the UK, coronavirus vaccinations will only be available via the National Health Services of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a local GP surgery or pharmacy, to receive your vaccination. Remember, the vaccinations are free of charge and you will not be asked for a payment.
The NHS will never:
ask for your bank account or card details
ask for your PIN or banking passwords
arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine
ask for documentation to prove your identity, such as a passport or utility bills
If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to email@example.com. Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726, which is free of charge.
If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.
We have been made aware of fake NHS text messages circulating, informing the public that they’re eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine.
The scam message reads “We have identified that you are eligible to apply for your vaccine” which prompts you to click on a link to find out more and to “apply” for the vaccine.
The link directs you to a convincing fake NHS website, where fraudsters can coerce you to divulge personal or financial details.
Any texts or emails containing URLs should always be treated with caution and we’d urge for members of the public to avoid clicking links in unsolicited texts or emails.
Texts or emails that ask you to provide information such as your name, date of birth or financial details are scams and if you’re ever unsure about these types of messages, ignore or delete them.
Cold calls that ask you to provide personal or financial details or ask you to pay over the phone to access the vaccine have also been reported. If you receive one of these calls, hang up immediately.
How to protect yourself from scams
Scams are becoming more and more sophisticated and they also come in many forms, making it difficult to distinguish real messages from fake ones. Below are some useful tips to avoid falling victim to any scam:
If you receive a text or email containing attachments or links from unknown senders, do not open them.
Move emails to your Spam inbox, delete the text messages and block the number if you can.
If possible, use 2-factor authentication to provide extra protection to your online accounts. Visit the National Cyber Security Centre for more information.
Never give out your personal information or financial details in response to emails, texts or phone calls. Always verify who you are speaking with.
Look out for fake websites and if you’re unsure, check the domain name.
Check for errors in spelling. Messages or emails riddled with spelling mistakes are normally linked to phishing attacks.
If you think you have been a victimof a scam or know of someone who has fallen victim to an online fraud:
Contact your bank immediately to tell them what’s happened.
Report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online.
Please share this warning with friends, families, neighbours and colleagues so we can prevent anyone from falling victim to scams.Email tracking gif
Message Sent By
Gillian Fleet (Police, Preventing financial fraud officer, Lincolnshire)