Now that the vaccination programme is underway, it’s important to make sure you don’t fall victim to this new type of scam. Here, we explain how the scams work and how you can spot them.
Typically, fraudsters send convincing-looking text messages and make bogus phone calls. They pretend to be from the NHS or a local pharmacy and tell their victims they’re eligible for the coronavirus vaccine. There are also fake websites and sometimes criminals even call at victims’ homes in person.
Text messages: these seek to collect personal and financial details by asking people to confirm they want the vaccine.
Phone calls: fake callers ask for a fee or bank details to pay for the vaccine.
Websites: these may contain fake NHS booking forms which look genuine.
In person: some fraudsters turn up unannounced, pretending to be from the NHS and ask for a cash payment.
The government’s COVID-19 Fraud Response Team has launched a campaign to remind everyone that the vaccine is free. It warns that the NHS will never do any of the following:
ask for a payment for the vaccine
ask for your bank details
call unannounced at your home to vaccinate you
ask you to send copies of documents such as passports as proof of ID
If you’re in doubt, ignore text messages that don’t feel right or hang up on calls. And remember that any NHS visits will always be agreed in advance with you or through carers. You can contact your GP surgery if you want to check whether a message or call you’ve received is genuine.
If you have an account with us and think you may have fallen victim to a vaccine scam, contact us using the number on the back of your card.
Find out more about other coronavirus scams we're hearing about.