As of 7th January 2021, Action Fraud had already received 57 reports from members of the public who’d been sent text messages claiming to be from the NHS, offering them the opportunity to sign up for coronavirus vaccinations.
The texts ask the recipient to click on a link which takes them to an online form where they’re prompted to input personal and financial details. In some cases, the online form has looked very similar to the real NHS website.
Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said: “Remember, the vaccine is only available on the NHS and is free of charge. The NHS will never ask you for details about your bank account or to pay for the vaccine. If you receive an email, text message or phone call purporting to be from the NHS and you are asked to provide financial details, this is a scam.”
How to protect yourself
In the UK, coronavirus vaccinations 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 local GP surgery or pharmacy, to receive your vaccination. Remember, the vaccinations are free of charge and you won’t be asked for a payment.
The NHS will never:
- Ask for your bank account or card details
- Ask for your PIN or banking passwords
- Arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine
- Ask for documentation to prove your identity, such as a passport or utility bills
If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you’re suspicious about an email you’ve received, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726, which is free of charge.
If you believe you’re the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.