Consumer group Which? is warning Brits of a new scam text being circulated by criminals looking to exploit COVID-19 fears in order to take advantage of vulnerable people.
The fake text message claims to be from the NHS and tells people they are eligible to apply for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The message reads: “NHS: We have identified that your are eligible to apply for your vaccine” and advises recipients to follow a link to an “application form” for more information and to “apply.”
This link goes to a convincing fake NHS website that asks for personal details.
The website then asks for his bank and card details in order to “confirm identity.”
Spelling mistakes on the site and in the text message itself are warning signs of a phishing scam, said Which?
⚠️Watch out for this fake NHS text has been circulating, telling people they’re eligible to apply for the COVID-19 vaccine⬇️
Scammers are looking to exploit the most vulnerable and worried. Make sure your loved ones are aware.
Find out more ➡️ https://t.co/Cnt0vEG4ic pic.twitter.com/tutqx7P3rn
— Which? (@WhichUK) December 30, 2020
Which? also found that the fake site was only registered two days ago — another reason to be suspicious.
With the recent approval of COVID-19 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,” Which? warned.
Which? has also had reports of cold calling scams regarding the vaccine, with scammers asking people to pay for it over the phone.
Other COVID-19 related scams uncovered by Which? include a council tax reduction phishing email falsely claiming people have qualified for a council tax reduction due to the pandemic, a fake NHS contact tracing text claiming the recipient has been in contact with someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19, an HMRC government grant phishing email, and a Microsoft ‘covid relief fund’ phishing email containing a scam designed to steal bank details.
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COVID-19 vitamin pill cold calls where cold callers take advantage of people keen to stay healthy during the pandemic by offering cut-price vitamins and supplements have also been reported.
Which? said criminals are using the confusion and urgency around the pandemic as a way to target potential victims.
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