AUTHORITIES in Warwickshire are warning residents to beware of a scam Covid vaccine message which attempts to trick people into handing over their bank details, after it was reported more than 1,000 times in 24 hours.
Criminals are exploiting the pandemic by sending convincing-looking text messages or phone calls which appear to be from the NHS, telling people they are eligible for the vaccine.
Recipients are asked to click on a link to accept or decline an invitation to receive the vaccine. If they click accept, they are asked to input personal information and their bank card details.
Head of Action Fraud Pauline Smith warned the public to remain vigilant.
She said: “It’s despicable that fraudsters will take advantage of such an important tool in the fight against this evil and deadly disease. Not only are the people being targeted with this email at risk of losing money, or having their identity stolen, but they are also at risk of not receiving the real vaccine.
“The public have been fantastic at reporting these scams to us and raising awareness in their local community as well. But unfortunately, as this latest phishing campaign shows, we still have to remain cautious and alert. Remember, anything purporting to be from the NHS asking you to pay for the vaccine, or provide your bank account or card details, is a scam.”
Coronavirus vaccines are only available via NHS. Residents can be contacted by the NHS, their employer, a GP surgery or local pharmacy to receive a vaccine. The vaccine is free of charge and no-one will be asked to pay.
The NHS will never ask for bank account or card details, ask for a PIN or banking password, arrive unannounced at homes to administer the vaccine, or ask for copies of personal documents such as passports, driving licences, bills or payslips.
Anyone who receives a call they suspect to be fraudulent should hang up.
Suspicious emails can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org and suspicious text messages to the number 7726, which is free of charge.
Anyone who believes they are a victim of fraud can visit www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040 to report it to Action Fraud.