/ 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.

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.

As of 26 January, variants of this scam are now also being reported:

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.


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. However, if you’re aged 70 or over or you’ve previously received a letter saying you’re high-risk, you no longer need to wait to be contacted and can book your appointment online.

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

Comments
Martin says:
12 March 2021

From EE mobile number: +44 7949 758499

NHS: We have identified that you are eligible to apply for a vaccination. For further information on how to apply, follow here: https://Nhsvaccination.eligibility-form.com

[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. ]

It doesn’t help people identify genuine sites when they use links like the one I got:
http://accurx.thirdparty.nhs.uk/r/3ujpsv1234 (end digits changed, checked and told invite code is mistyped)

The following day I received a phone call to book me in the next day.

The way this was done goes against all my defences to avoid getting scammed. As both car batteries were flat at the time, I got her phone number and called back when I had a chance to research the information I had and decide it was genuine.

I suppose the quoted url had to be an NHS one – they love making simple things complicated.

A scam website would have been called . . . bookyourvaxdirect . . . or . . . jabs4U . . .

Chantal Lewis says:
28 March 2021

I received a text message on my phone in January, from they said, my GP practice to go online to book a vaccine slot, a couple of days after announcing via the media they’d start my age group. Fortunately I had two genuine messages from the practice and GP kept on my phone. Thanks to my regular reading of Which scams, etc I was wary about clicking so I put the link address on my laptop and nothing came, didn’t work. Comparing the scam gp practice address with the genuine ones I realised it was a scam and chucked it out after blocking the address. The only difference with the genuine address were extra spaces in the name.
I realise now that it may have been the same “problem” link address as Alpha reader, 24/3/21 . Have I become too wary??!

You can never be too wary Chantal, and it is always better to be safe than sorry.

I have also had emails from my GP surgery with the name of the practice as the sender, so to get one with the sender name as GPSurgery and a link to a website starting with ‘accurx’ just looks fake at first glance.

My father received one on March 31 regarding the second jab and it contained an email address. This text is fake and I have notified the NHS Covid Team of its existence. I have pasted the entire text below so if your loved ones receive this text – it is not real!!!

We have now rescheduled all 2nd dose COVID-19 Vaccination appointments where the 1st dose was given prior to the 1st February. Please check that you have received your booking confirmation email with a new date and time, dont forget to check your junk email too. Please make every effort to attend your new appointment. If you experience any problems, please email: [edited]
We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused, but please be assured that have worked hard to ensure that everyone gets their second dose at the right time.
Thank you for your understanding
COVID-19 Team

[Moderator: we’ve removed an email address from this comment. Please don’t post personal contact details, as this is to protect people’s privacy. For more information see the Community guidelines]

I have today received a text from a mobile number advising me that my covid vaccine is booked for 9:30am today at QE hospital Birmingham and I must park on car park B and ensure I’m there on this exact date and time. There is a link for “directions” in the text (which I haven’t clicked). The strange thing is, I do have my 2nd covid vaccine today but it is close to where I live and at the end of the day. This must be a scam.