In a recent incident, one pensioner was actually “vaccinated” with an unknown substance by a fraudster before being charged £160. Authorities have since been issuing urgent alerts to raise awareness about the scams and curb the risk of others getting duped by fraudsters trying to make money from the vaccination rollout.
Fraudsters attempting to gain financial details online
Authorities have also confirmed that vaccine fraudsters have been sending out emails with a link to a fake NHS website. Those who click on the link are asked to complete an application form to register for the COVID-19 vaccine, and they are then asked to enter financial details. Once they submit this, the fraudsters can use the card and bank information acquired for financial gain.
The NHS and police forces across the country have been quick to alert the public to the scams. They have confirmed that in addition to contacting people online, fraudsters are also making contact by phone and text message. With older age groups being first in line for the vaccine, there are many concerns that vulnerable pensioners eagerly awaiting their jabs will fall for the scams and become financial fraud victims.
Officials have also warned that some scammers are making malicious and fraudulent calls that ask the user to press a number to be transferred to arrange their vaccination appointment. If the person taking the call then presses the number, premium charges are applied to their phone bill.
Wait for contact from the NHS
Ray Walsh, a security specialist, said that bona fide vaccine invitations would only be offered directly by the NHS and never by third parties. Those currently in line for the vaccine, including over 80s, are urged to wait for a letter from the NHS inviting them to make their appointment.
He said, “The public are reminded that they will only be offered a vaccine by the NHS directly, and that only people over 80 years of age, health care workers, and people who work in care homes are currently being offered a vaccine by their doctor’s surgery.”
The latest in a variety of Covid scams
The global pandemic has resulted in a range of financial scams over the past nine months, and the vaccine-related scam is the latest in a long line. Many have fallen for scams relating to COVID refunds from HMRC, tax rebate scams, and banking scams set up by fraudsters taking advantage of the current unprecedented situation.
With more and more people ordering items online due to a succession of lockdowns, there have also been scams relating to Royal Mail and DPD deliveries with recipients being asked to enter personal and financial details.