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As if we haven’t all had enough to deal with and worry about since the outset of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, the situation has unfortunately been exploited by fraudsters with fake offers of vaccinations.

At times of disasters and other crises, there is invariably an increase in fraudulent activity, for example bogus charity donation requests. The current pandemic, unprecedented in its effects and global reach – is no exception. A massive increase in reliance on the internet and people’s concerns about their and loved ones’ health, wellbeing and finances have combined to create ideal conditions for fraud.

Over the last year, commonplace COVID-19-related scams have included fake advertisements for PPE to priority online shopping slots, HMRC monetary grants to travel refund services, and fake NHS Test & Trace messages informing recipients that they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, and need to buy a home testing kit. A more complete list can be found at

With the UK vaccination programme in full swing, the most recent wave of scams has focused on fraudulent offers of vaccinations, attempting to persuade recipients that they can ‘jump the queue’.

The scams, which are perpetrated via email, text or telephone call, either request payment for a vaccination, or link to authentic looking but fake websites which harvest your confidential information. Those who fall for such scams fall victim to financial fraud, identity theft or both.

Avoiding COVID-19 vaccination scams: top tips

Remember that COVID-19 vaccines in the UK are available only via the NHS of England, Wales and Scotland, or from Health & Social Care Northern Ireland.

Remember that the NHS will never:

  • Charge you for a COVID-19 vaccination
  • Ask you for your bank account or card details
  • Ask you for your PIN or banking password or memorable details
  • Arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine
  • Ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as passport, driving licence, bills or payslips

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up.


If you think you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre on 0300 123 20 40 or at In Scotland, report fraud to Police Scotland by calling 101.

If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to [email protected].

Suspicious text messages should be forwarded free of charge to 7726

How you will be contacted to get your COVID-19 vaccination

The NHS will contact you when it is your turn to have the vaccination, by letter, text or email with information on how to book your appointment. The vaccination is free of charge without exception.

The vaccine is being offered at larger vaccination centres, pharmacies and some local NHS services such as hospitals or GP surgeries.