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Fake NHS COVID-19 vaccine email scam targets public

Posted 04/02/21

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has been sent a copy of an email using the vaccine rollout as a cover to steal personal details. 

The email, claiming to come from the National Health Service (NHS) informs the recipient that "The NHS is performing selections for coronavirus vaccination on the basis of family genetics and medical history. You have been selected to receive a coronavirus vaccination."

The email then asks the recipient to confirm whether or not they wish to be vaccinated. Both options are embedded with a link to a website which requests personal details. Scammers could use these details to steal the respondent's identity, putting their bank account and assets at risk. 

The message attempts to convince that it is legitimate by containing several paragraphs about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine and the rigorous testing procedures that have led to them.

The scammers try to rush the recipient to provide their response, informing them that they are supposedly "required to reply to this invitation within 12 hours of this notification." 

This is another example of a scam attempting to use the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic as a means to steal money. In early January, a text message sent to recipients throughout the United Kingdom tried to do the same thing while pretending to be sent from the NHS. 

Katherine Hart, a Lead Officer at CTSI, said: "At this vulnerable time, different kinds of scams themed around the pandemic continue to target the public. These scams can come in the form of emails, texts, telephone calls and on the doorstep. 

"Brexit-themed scams are also taking hold - fraudsters pivot to theme their scams according to whatever is in the news. Above all, we must tell friends and family to be wary of these scams and report them to the authorities.

"I cannot overstate how important it is to report scams, as this provides vital intelligence to the police and other agencies, and speeds up the process by which fraud networks are taken down."

To report scams, contact Action Fraud, or if in Scotland, contact Police Scotland

To report email scams, contact the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) by emailing  report@phishing.gov.uk

For consumer advice, please call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133

The public and businesses are encouraged to join Friends Against Scams and Businesses Against Scams, respectively. These initiatives aim to protect and prevent people and businesses from becoming scam victims by empowering them to take a stand against scams.

 

ENDS

CTSI Press Office: pressoffice@tsi.org.uk, 01268 582240

Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)

CTSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally. We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities. CTSI's members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses. www.tradingstandards.uk



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