Scammers have been contacting elderly people claiming they can arrange COVID vaccines for a fee.
Three people in Hertfordshire were contacted during December via text messages, which included a link that went through to a webpage that asked them for personal and banking details. All the victims realised it was a scam and did not handover any details.
The NHS is the only organisation that has access to the vaccine and will never ask for payment.
If you are contacted, please do not engage with the fraudsters, the NHS is currently contacting eligible people but if you are asked for money it is not a genuine call or text.
Detective Inspector Rob Burns, from the Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, said: “Luckily the people contacted recognised something was wrong. However, fraudsters are very quick to adapt their tactics to take advantage of circumstances, like the pandemic. If you receive any unsolicited messages or calls, you should always be sceptical. Avoid clicking links in text and email messages, check out the website directly via a search engine to make sure you are visiting a genuine site.”
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.
- Keep an eye out for numerous spelling mistakes in messages, these are normally linked to phishing emails and texts.
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 actionfraud.police.uk.