A fake NHS text message is currently in circulation, informing people that they’re eligible to apply for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The scam message reads “we have identified that your are eligible to apply for your vaccine” and then prompts you to click on a link for further information or to ‘apply’ for the vaccine. This URL takes you to an extremely convincing fake NHS website, where fraudsters are attempting to coerce people into divulging personal or financial information.
If you receive a text or email that asks you to click on a link or for you to provide information, such as your name, credit card or bank details, it's a scam.
Any text message containing a link should be treated with caution. The best way to find information from GOV.UK, or any other agency, is to visit that particular website via a trusted source (such as through Google or Bing) and do not click on links in unsolicited texts or emails.
Cold calls regarding the vaccine are also beginning to take place, where scammers are asking people to pay for the vaccine over the phone. If you receive one of these calls, immediately hang up.
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM SCAMS
Scams can come in many forms and is an incredibly sophisticated crime, making it more difficult to distinguish genuine messages from the fake.
- Do not open attachments or click on links in emails or texts from senders you don’t know.
- Never give out personal information, financial details or passwords in response to an email, text or phone call without verifying that the person is who they claim to be.
- Block any numbers that arouse suspicion.
- Set up spam filters on all of your accounts.
- Always go to a website directly, by typing out the address yourself, when logging into an account.
- Look out for fake websites by sense-checking the domain name.
- Keep an eye out for numerous spelling mistakes in messages, these are normally linked to phishing emails and texts.
REPORTING A CYBERCRIME
We all make mistakes and these days the scams can be incredibly convincing. If you think you, or someone you know has been a victim of online fraud:
- Let your bank know what’s happened immediately.
- Report the offence to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via their website https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/.
- A COVID Fraud Hotline (0800 587 5030) has also been set up by in partnership with Crimestoppers to enable individuals to report fraud within the public sector during the pandemic. There is also an online reporting feature which can be found here: http://covidfraudhotline.org
If you need to seek further advice you can contact the Police by calling 101.
Please share this warning with your neighbours, friends and family, so we can prevent anyone from falling victim to scams.