Coronavirus vaccine scam email5th February 2021
Counter Fraud Service is warning Health and Social Care staff to remain vigilant as criminals begin to take advantage of the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine to commit fraud.
Across the UK there have been thousands of reports of scam emails concerning the booking and payment for the coronavirus vaccine.
These ‘phishing’ scams, such as seen below, look legitimate and appear to come from the NHS. Many will ask the recipient to click on a link to accept an invitation to receive the coronavirus vaccine. If accepted, the recipient is then asked to provide personal information and bank account details.
It is important to remember that in Northern Ireland, the coronavirus vaccine is free of charge and is only available via Health and Social Care (HSC). Members of the public will be contacted by phone or in writing by their local HSC Trust or GP surgery to receive the vaccine.
Individuals will never be asked to:
- pay for the vaccine
- provide their bank account or credit card details
- prove their identity by sending copies of personal documents such as a passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.
Donna Scott, Assistant Director of Counter Fraud Services said “It is unfortunate that in the midst of this pandemic there are still those who seek to profit from criminal activity by preying on the most vulnerable in our society. Falling victim to this type of scam can have a devastating impact on someone’s life and some cases the victim can lose large sums of money. Most importantly the victim will not receive the vaccine as they had expected.”
Donna Scott added “I encourage anyone reading this to make family, friends, neighbours and the most vulnerable aware of vaccine scams. To be clear, the HSC will never ask you to pay for the coronavirus vaccine.”
Reporting scam emails
If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) at email@example.com.
Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726 which is free of charge.
Please do not report the matter to CFS as under our investigate remit we can only examine cases of suspected fraud where Health and Social Care (HSC) resources are affected or where a HSC organisation is the victim.
How you can help
As this is an issue we all need to be aware of please speak with elderly or vulnerable service users, family members and friends and alert them to the potential of vaccine phishing scams. Remember the HSC will never ask for payment to receive the coronavirus vaccine.