The email, which attempts to trick people into handing over their bank details, was reported more than 1,000 times in 24 hours. It appears to come from the NHS and asks 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.
The national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime has previously warned about coronavirus vaccine scams, with many people reporting receiving fake text messages purporting to be from the NHS.
Head of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, is warning the public to remain vigilant as fraudsters continue to act:
“It’s despicable that fraudsters will take advantage of such an important tool in the fight against this evil and deadly disease. Not only are the people being targeted with this email at risk of losing money, or having their identity stolen, but they are also at risk of not receiving the real vaccine.
“The public have been fantastic at reporting these scams to us and raising awareness in their local community as well. But unfortunately, as this latest phishing campaign shows, we still have to remain cautious and alert. Remember: anything purporting to be from the NHS asking you to pay for the vaccine, or provide your bank account or card details, is a scam.”
How to protect yourself
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. Remember, the vaccine is free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay.
The NHS will never:
- ask you for your bank account or card details.
- ask you for your PIN or banking password.
- arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
- ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.
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 email@example.com. 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.