Following an increasing number of reports around scams asking people to wrongly pay for COVID-19 vaccinations, Avon & Somerset Police are reminding people to be wary and to report any suspected cases to Action Fraud.
Action Fraud revealed last week it recorded more than 1,000 reports nationally of phishing emails and text messages connected to the vaccine roll-out in just one day.
The scams fraudulently claim to be from the NHS and ask the recipient to click on a link to accept or decline an invitation to receive the coronavirus vaccine. If they click accept, they are asked to input personal information and their bank card details.
In the UK, coronavirus vaccines are only 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.
The vaccine is therefore free and at no point will people be asked to pay for one.
Detective Sergeant Louise Sinclair, of Avon & Somerset Police, said: “It is despicable anyone would seek to capitalise on the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in this manner, but regrettably these heartless fraudsters are preying on people and trying to profiteer over this deadly virus.
“The key thing to remember is the jab is free. You will not need to pay a penny and if you are being asked for payment or banking details, then it is a scam. You should not input any personal or financial information and contact police if you are unsure.”
DS Sinclair added: “I’d urge people to speak with family members and friends to alert them to this vaccine phishing scam out there.
“It would be dreadful if someone fell victim to a scam like this and missed out on a potentially life-saving vaccination because of fraud.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726 which is free of charge.
If you think you have been a victim of fraud or identify theft, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
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