/ Scams

Scam alert: fake NHS COVID-19 vaccine text

A dangerous fake NHS text has been circulating, telling people they’re eligible to apply for the COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s what it looks like.

Update 7/1/2021: Cold calls

Cold calls regarding the vaccine are also beginning to take place – we’ve already had reports of scammers asking people to pay for it over the phone:

If you receive one of these calls, hang up.

The NHS will contact you when it is your turn to receive the vaccine, likely by letter from your GP or from the NHS itself.

Read more about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, and what it means for you

30/12/2020: Watch out for scam texts

A member got in touch with us today when they received a text message purporting to be from the NHS.

It confusingly stated that “we have identified that your are eligible to apply for your vaccine” and advised him to follow a link to get more information and ‘apply’:

This URL takes you through to an extremely convincing fake NHS website that asks for your personal details, but the member became suspicious when it asked for his bank/card details in order to ‘check his identity’.

It was then that he began spotting spelling mistakes on the site and in the SMS itself, which we’ve warned many times before are classic signs of a phishing scam.

We found that the fake site was also registered just two days ago – another reason to be suspicious, and one that demonstrates the importance of reporting these scams as soon as you receive them.

Remain vigilant of coronavirus scams

We know that criminals will use the confusion and urgency around the pandemic as a way to target potential victims – we’ve covered five similar attempts here on Which? Conversation already:

⚠ Council tax reduction phishing email

⚠ Fake NHS contact tracing text

⚠ HMRC Government grant phishing email

⚠ Microsoft ‘covid relief fund’ phishing email

⚠ COVID-19 vitamin pill cold calls

With the recent approval of multiple vaccines in the UK, these types of scam attempts are likely to continue as fraudsters look to take advantage of the rollout to so many people.

Our advice

If you think you may have handed over your card details to scammers, let your bank know what’s happened immediately.

You can then attempt to recover any money lost by following our guide here.

Have you received this fake NHS vaccine text or any other type of scam relating to the vaccine?

Let us know in the comments if you have, and please do share this warning with friends and family so we can prevent anyone from falling victim.


Comments
Lisa Jayne Corkhill says:
19 January 2021

We both received text messages today which looked dodgy about Covid vaccines from a telephone number 07800 007 150.

Dear patient
We understand that people are keen to know when they will receive their Covid vaccine. Each of us will receive an invite when it is our turn.
You may receive a letter inviting you to arrange an appointment at a mass vaccination centre. Please do not contact us about this. We have put some advice on our website for you. Please click here – https://bit.ly/3p73iBK. Many thanks

[Moderator: this website appears to be a scam website. We’ve retained the URL to help you identify it, but we’ve redirected the link to our guidance on how to spot fraudulent website. ]