With a new lockdown and vaccines being rolled out, I’m sad to say the crooks and con-artists are once more out in force! So it’s important to take extra care at the moment and keep your wits about you.
The latest scam doing the rounds is being sent out via email and text message. It tells you that you’ve been invited to make an appointment for a Covid-19 vaccination, and gives you a link to follow to book your slot. It all looks fairly convincing, and the web page you’re taken to looks just like an official NHS one.
But the scammers then ask you for “proof of address” in the form of your credit or debit card details. And once they’ve got your details, they use them to steal your money. It’s a pretty low blow, and I often wonder how these people sleep at night!
There are also phone scams trying to do something similar. Or slightly different ones where you’re asked to either “press 1 on your keypad” or send a text message to a premium number to confirm that you want the vaccine.
The NHS will never ask you for bank or credit card details as proof of ID and the vaccination is completely free.
There’s actually a standard system for sending out invitations for a Covid-19 vaccination, and it’s the same system that’s used for flu vaccinations. Everyone who’s eligible for the vaccine at the moment will be sent a letter in the post or called by their GP inviting them to make an appointment. If you don’t make an appointment after a certain length of time, you might be sent a reminder text message or email. But it certainly won’t be asking you for payment details!
Once you’ve received your invitation, you can either ring up to book, or book an appointment online by going to the web address that’s printed on the letter. It’s a page on the official www.nhs.uk website.
As with any other type of scam, if you’re not sure or something doesn’t feel quite right, stop. If it’s a phone call, and they ask you for sensitive information, hang up. If you’re on a web page that’s asking for payment details, just close it.
If you think you might have already fallen victim to this or a similar scam, get in touch with your bank or credit card supplier as soon as you can to let them know. They’ll be able to freeze your account and investigate any unusual activity.