RESIDENTS are being warned to be aware of COVID-19 vaccination scams.
Cheshire West and Chester Council is reacting to national reports that people are being duped into signing up for a bogus COVID-19 jab. Scammers ask victims to provide personal and financial details, these details are then used to steal money from the victim’s bank account.
So far, Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, has received 57 reports in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, Councillor Karen Shore said: “There has been an increase in the number of reports of vaccine frauds over the last two months, particularly around scam text messages.
“Remember, the vaccine is only available on the NHS and is free of charge. The NHS will never ask you for details about your bank account or to pay for the vaccine. If you receive an email, text message or phone call purporting to be from the NHS and you are asked to provide financial details, this is a scam.”
Action Fraud has received reports from members of the public who have been sent text messages claiming to be from the NHS, offering them the opportunity to sign up for the vaccine. The texts ask the recipient to click on a link that takes them to an online form where they are prompted to input personal and financial details. In some cases the online form has looked very similar to the real NHS website.
To protect yourself and your family members from fraud, please remember the following points:
The NHS will never ask for bank details, PIN numbers or passwords when contacting you about a vaccination. You will never be charged for the vaccine.
Any communication which claims to be from the NHS but asks for payment, or bank details, is fraudulent and can be ignored. If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up.
The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
Report any scams to Citizens Advice Consumer Service online at: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/reporting-a-scam/ or telephone: 0800 144 8848
Where a victim is vulnerable, and particularly if you are worried that someone has or might come to your house, report it to the Police either online or by calling 101.
It is important people are aware of the many new scams around at the moment because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Scams to look out for include advertising face masks or medical equipment at high prices, emails or texts pretending to be from the Government, emails offering life insurance against coronavirus and people knocking at your door to ask for money for charity.
If you see emails or texts about coronavirus from someone you don’t know, or from an unusual email address, do not click on any links or buy anything.