Criminals are continuing to use the confusion and urgency around the pandemic to target potential victims.

With the recent approval of vaccines in the UK, the latest in a series of scams focuses on the NHS roll-out of the vaccine and these types of scam attempts are likely to continue as fraudsters look to take advantage of the rollout across the UK.

What to watch out for

A dangerous fake NHS text has been circulating over the past couple of weeks, telling people they are eligible to apply for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The text message states that the recipient is eligible to apply for a vaccine and advises them to follow a link to get more information and ‘apply’. The hyperlink then leads to a fake but very convincing application form to scam financial information.

In some cases, people are also receiving fraudulent phone calls asking them 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 directly over the phone.

How to avoid falling for these scams

The best advice is to be careful – unsolicited calls, texts or emails that ask you to pass on personal details are clear signs of a scam. Keep a look out for poor spelling and grammar too.

The NHS will never ask you to press a button on your keypad or send a text to confirm you want the vaccine, and never ask for payment or for your bank details. The vaccine is only available from the NHS and the NHS will contact you when it is your turn.

What action should you take?

  • 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.
  • If you think you may have handed over your card details to scammers, please let us know immediately.