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Watch for these fake Covid-19 vaccination messages

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Written by: Emma Lunn
06/01/2021
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) says fraudulent messages are being sent to the public informing them that they are eligible for the coronavirus vaccine.

This is the latest in a series of scams themed around the pandemic that have been doing the rounds since March.

The latest text claims to be from the NHS and says: “we have identified that you are eligible to apply for your vaccine.”

The message ends with a link to a bogus website mocked up to look like a legitimate NHS platform. The website requests personal details, including the person’s name and address. It also asks for bank details, supposedly for ‘verification’.

The phoney messages were first reported at the end of December by people living on the Western Isles of Scotland. The NHS on the Isles has since issued a warning to the public that “Health Boards will never ask for any details about your bank account.”

But the scam is by no means limited to this region, and people throughout the UK are warned that they may receive similar messages.

Katherine Hart, CTSI lead officer, said: “I have been tracking and warning the public about Covid-19 related scams since the beginning of the pandemic, and at every stage of response, unscrupulous individuals have modified their campaigns to defraud the public.

“The vaccine brings great hope for an end to the pandemic and lockdowns, but some only wish to create even further misery by defrauding others. The NHS will never ask you for banking details, passwords, or PIN numbers and these should serve as instant red flags.

“Do not provide any information to the scammers, but please also report suspicious messages to Action Fraud, or if in Scotland, Police Scotland, as this provides intelligence and assists authorities in combating scams.”

To report scams, contact Action Fraud, or if in Scotland, contact Police Scotland.

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