Welcome to our first Scams bulletin for 2021. Happy New Year to you.
We hope you’ve managed to survive Christmas shopping online without falling into any scams. Unfortunately there have been a lot of them happening recently, so please still continue to be extra vigilant into 2021 and keep yourself safe from scams.
Now the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines has begun, there are of course some unpleasant people who decide that this is an extra reason to scam people. So covid-19 and vaccination scams are doing the rounds at the moment. Unfortunately of course a lot of these are targeting older, potentially more vulnerable people. So if older people you are in contact with (family, friends, neighbours) are lined up for the vaccine, please alert them and support them so that they don’t fall victim.
Very important remember that the vaccine is FREE. No one will ever ask for bank details or payments. There are many people trying to collect personal details and bank details related to vaccination. These are scams. There’s even been someone actually who has actually given a jab (of what?) to a 92 year old after asking for payment. Scams and assault all in one.
We’ve just also posted an important, detailed notice about the Covid-19 fraud on our website here.
Best ways to protect yourself and others from these scams:
In the UK, coronavirus vaccines will only be available via the National Health Services of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or pharmacy local to you, to receive your vaccine. Remember, the vaccine is free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay.
– The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.
– The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.
– The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
– The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.
If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to email@example.com. Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726 which is free of charge.
Text messages are also being used for these scams.
The scam message reads “We have identified that you are eligible to apply for your vaccine” which prompts you to click on a link to find out more and to “apply” for the vaccine. The link directs you to a convincing fake NHS website, where fraudsters can coerce you to divulge personal or financial details.
Any texts or emails containing URLs should always be treated with caution. Texts or emails that ask you to provide information such as your name, date of birth or financial details are scams and if you’re ever unsure about these types of messages, ignore or delete them. Cold calls that ask you to provide personal or financial details or ask you to pay over the phone to access the vaccine are also part of the scam.
Tips to tackle scams
Remember than in general scams are getting cleverer, so you need to be vigilant to spot the signs of a scam. Here are some tips:
- If you receive a text or email containing attachments or links from unknown senders, do not open them. Move emails to your Spam inbox, delete the text messages and block the number if you can.
- If possible, use 2-factor authentication to provide extra protection to your online accounts. Visit the National Cyber Security Centre for more information.
- Never give out your personal information or financial details in response to emails, texts or phone calls. Always verify who you are speaking with.
- Look out for fake websites and if you’re unsure, check the domain name.
- Check for errors in spelling. Messages or emails riddled with spelling mistakes are normally linked to phishing attacks.
There are other scams circulating related to Covid-19 and there’s a useful page about this on the Friends Against Scams website here.
If you, or anyone you know, have been affected by any recent covid-19 or vaccine frauds or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 1232040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.
Stay safe and keep vigilant against scams.