Beware vaccine scams

January 16, 2021 Community,Doctor,Media

Reports are circulating of dangerous, fake NHS text messages circulating, telling people that they’re eligible to apply for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The link takes the unwary to a convincing fake NHS website that asks for personal details, including bank/card details.

Buckinghamshire Council’s Trading Standards team is also receiving information that cold calls about the vaccine are happening, where scammers ask people to pay for vaccine over the phone.

Most of these vaccine scams are targeting elderly residents. The receive a cold call claiming the vaccination would be carried out in their home and that the caller requires their name, address and also financial details to pay for the vaccine.

Other reports relate to approaches made by text and from a recorded voice message on the phone.

In each case the intended victim is required to respond by clicking a link in the text message or by pressing 1 when receiving the call. They are then asked to give personal information, as well as financial details to book their vaccination.

Fred Wilson, Buckinghamshire Council Member for Regulatory Services said: ‘I am very disappointed that at a time when many people are seeing the vaccine as hope for the future, scammers are trying to cash in.’

He added: ‘It’s important to remember the vaccine is free and the NHS will never require you to hand over financial details in exchange for it.’

Key messages:

  • The vaccine is free and only available from the NHS who will contact people when it is their turn. At present, appointments are only being offered to over 80s, workers in care homes and NHS staff.
  • The NHS will never ask people to press a button on a keypad or send a text to confirm they want to receive the vaccine, and do not ask for payment or for bank details.