THE NHS has warned the public to be vigilant as scammers take advantage of the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine to commit fraud.
Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime has received reports that text messages claiming to be from the NHS are offering the opportunity to register for the vaccine.
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.
The fake site asks for bank details either to verify identification or to make a payment.
In some cases the online form has looked very similar to the real NHS website.
The NHS says it would never ask for bank details, and the vaccine is free.
Trading Standards Scotland, which aims to protect consumers from illegal trading practices, issued a warning on their social media account at the weekend to ensure the public were aware of vaccine scams circulating across Scotland and the rest of the UK.
We are aware of a scam involving text messages and emails suggesting people are eligible for the #Coronavirus vaccine and asking for money.
The NHS will never ask you for money relating to COVID-19.
Been a victim? Call 101. pic.twitter.com/vkEw70O2nC
— NHS Ayrshire & Arran (@NHSaaa) January 26, 2021
Action Fraud reported that the almost 60 scams consisted of messages which ask the recipient to click on a link.
It said: “In the UK, coronavirus vaccines 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 GP surgery or pharmacy local to you, to receive your vaccine. Remember, the vaccine is free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay.”
It warns that the NHS will never ask for a PIN or banking password and that representatives will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
It said the NHS will also never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.
Age UK said: “Unfortunately, some criminals have been using the vaccine roll-out as an opportunity to take advantage of older people waiting to get one. While scams such as these are rare, it is still very important to be aware of what to look out for.
“The advice is very simple: The vaccine is only available on the NHS, and you will never be asked to pay for it or to provide your bank details. Anything that suggests otherwise is a scam.
“When you are contacted about your vaccine appointment, anyone calling should confirm who they are. If you in any doubt, hang up and call back on a phone number that is verified. This could be by looking up the number online or by finding it on an official letter you previously received.”