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Coronavirus (COVID-19): the policing response and what you need to know

Public warned over COVID-19 vaccine scams

Following an increasing number of reports around scams asking people to wrongly pay for COVID-19 vaccinations, Avon and 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 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.

The vaccine is therefore free and at no point will people be asked to pay for one.

Detective Sergeant Louise Sinclair, of Avon and 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.”

The NHS will…

  • NEVER ask you for your bank account or card details.
  • NEVER ask you for your PIN or banking password.
  • NEVER arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
  • NEVER ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.

We’re also asking people to spread the word and make everyone aware of the scam.

DS Sinclair said: “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 report@phishing.gov.uk. Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726 which is free of charge.

If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk