COVID-19 Vaccine Scams
We are aware that some people are receiving fraudulent calls and text messages offering the COVID-19 vaccination. In some cases, people are asked to press a number on their keypad or to send a text message to confirm they wish to receive the vaccine. Doing so is likely to result in a charge being applied to their phone bill. In other cases, callers are offering the vaccine for a fee or asking for bank details.
Criminals are using the COVID-19 vaccine as a way to target the public by tricking them to hand over cash or financial details. They are sending convincing looking text messages letting people know they are eligible for the vaccine or phoning people directly pretending to be from the NHS, or local pharmacy.
People are warned to be alert to these scams.
Here is an example of a fraudulent text received:
This URL takes you through to an extremely convincing fake NHS website that asks for your personal details, but the member became suspicious when it asked for his bank/card details in order to ‘check his identity’.
However, the convincing fraudulent site and the SMS itself contains various spelling mistakes which are classic signs of a phishing scam.
The fraudulent NHS website was only registered on the 28th December – another reason to be suspicious, and one that demonstrates the importance of reporting these scams as soon as you receive them.
Remain vigilant of coronavirus scams
We know that criminals will use the confusion and urgency around the pandemic as a way to target potential victims.
The vaccine is only available from the NHS and the NHS will contact you when it is your turn. At present, appointments are only being offered to members of the public over 80 years old.
The NHS will:
- NEVER ask you to press a button on your keypad or send a text asking you to confirm you want the vaccine.
- NEVER ask for payment for the vaccine or for your bank details
The vaccine is only available on the NHS for free to people in priority groups, and the NHS will contact you when it is your turn. Anyone offering a paid-for vaccine is committing a crime. At the moment we are also not making house calls to deliver or discuss the vaccine. Anyone offering this now is committing a crime.
If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft you should report this directly to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Where the victim is vulnerable, report it to Sussex Police online or by calling 101.
Public Health Warwickshire County Council
NHS Arden and Greater East Midlands Commissioning Support Unit