December 22nd 2020
Very predictably, the launch of the staged mass vaccination of people in the UK against COVID-19, is being accompanied by a rash of attempts at fraud, as reported by Trading Standards departments around the country.
Exploiting people’s desire to receive the vaccination as soon as possible and, more recently, increased fear of infection in the light of the new, more virulent strain, scammers are using phone calls (both in person and automated) and text messages to offer the chance to ‘jump the queue’. In the most commonly reported cases, the recipient is required to respond by clicking a link in the text message, or pressing 1 on the call.
If you receive an email or phone call from anyone purporting to offer you the vaccine other than the NHS, you should assume it is a scam. In reality, the vaccine is being offered by the NHS to people most at risk from Coronavirus, with groups at lower levels of risk following, and so on. It is being administered in some hospitals and, from last week, hundreds of local vaccination centres run by GPs.
If you are unfortunate enough to get tricked into providing confidential details or losing money to fraudsters, report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk