People Urged to be Aware of Vaccine Text Scam

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People are being reminded to look out for scammers trying to steal their bank details with fake NHS text messages about the Covid-19 vaccine.

Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards service is warning people to be vigilant and not to give out their personal details if contacted.

In the scam, text messages claim the recipient is eligible for the vaccine. People are then redirected to a phoney NHS web page and asked to enter their personal details. Once on the webpage, the final part of the scam asks people to enter their bank details, claiming it’s part of the identification process.

Anyone receiving a text message that seems suspicious in any way or one that asks for financial details should ignore it and report it to Citizens Advice.

The coronavirus vaccine is currently being offered in some hospitals and GP surgeries and national vaccination centres. The NHS are contacting those people eligible for the vaccine but they will never ask for banking details, passwords, or pin numbers.

Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council said:

“Unfortunately over the past twelve months we have seen an increase in the number of scams, many  relating to Covid-19.

“In this latest scam, through text message, criminals try and get you to click on a fake NHS website where they try and get your bank account details. The scam does appear genuine but please don’t fall for it. If in doubt, check with a friend or a family member, and remember that the NHS will never ask you for your bank details.”

Throughout the pandemic, Trading Standards officers have received reports on numerous scams, including,

  • Email scams on home testing kits where you have to pay for the test and are asked for bank details.
  • Doorstep cleansing services that offer to clean drives and doorways to kill bacteria and help prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Criminals extorting money from consumers by claiming they are collecting donations for a COVID-19 ‘vaccine’.
  • Companies offering fake holiday refunds for individuals who have been forced to cancel their trips. People seeking refunds should also be wary of fake websites set up to claim holiday refunds.

Victoria added:

“Scammers are experts at impersonating organisations, and they will spend time researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment. Any kind of unsolicited approach should start to ring alarm bells, so please stay alert and watch out for older neighbours and relatives as they can be really vulnerable to scams too.”

People should report scams to the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline: on 0808 223 1133 or at the website https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/