This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Tech Feed
Coronavirus UK vaccine programme is well underway, with over 44 million doses already administered by the NHS. Some 11.2 million people in Britain now fully vaccinated, but with plenty more to go – a warning has been issued about how to spot a real NHS invite from a fake one.
Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber reporting centre, throughout 2021 has been warning about coronavirus vaccine scams.
Callous con-artists have been trying to take advantage of the demand for the vaccine, and the wait that plenty of people are facing to get an invite, by attempting to trick victims into paying for access to the vaccine.
Towards the start of this year Which? received a report of someone receiving a robocall asking them to pay £50 for a vaccine. While in another case a 92-year-old woman was given a fake coronavirus vaccine when a man knocked on her door and charged £160.
The coronavirus vaccine is being offered free of charge by the NHS. You will never be charged for the Covid-19 vaccination. As for the wait, the NHS is currently working through the age groups and you will only be eligible once it’s your turn.
As millions of people wait for their call-up, Action Fraud UK has highlighted how to spot bogus vaccine invites from real ones that could be sent over text. On Twitter, the @actionfraudUK account posted: “The @NHSuk are sending text messages to some people to invite them to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.
“Remember, the vaccine is FREE. the NHS will never ask you for payment or banking details in order to receive the vaccine.”
The Action Fraud UK Twitter also offered advice about how to spot a real NHS coronavirus text message. Action Fraud said: “The NHS are texting people inviting them to book their life saving Covid job, making it quicker and more convenient to get an appointment.
“The text message will show as being sent from ‘NHSvaccine’ and will include a link to the NHS.uk website. The NHS will never ask you for payment or banking details. If you are unsure about a text message you have received, you can call 119 to book your appointment.”
Towards the start of this year, as the UK’s vaccine programme began, Action Fraud started raising awareness about how cybercriminals were taking advantage of the coronavirus vaccine rollout.
By the end of the first week of January Action Fraud had already received dozens of reports about Covid-19 vaccines. At the time Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud, said: “The vaccine is a crucial tool in fighting the coronavirus and keeping people safe. 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.”