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COVID-19 vaccine scams - charity issues warning
An article written by Third Force News highlights a warning made by the charity Advice Direct Scotland about the increased number of people being hit by COVID-19 vaccine scams over the past few weeks.
The charity states that fraudulent text messages about COVID-19 vaccines were being reported, including links to fake NHS websites that ask for bank details. Messages were first reported at the end of December on the Western Isles.
Similar scams have also been reported in Edinburgh, where forms ask for details from recipients’ bank cards to “verify their identity”. The text offers a link to an "extremely convincing" fake NHS website where people are asked to input their bank details to register for a vaccine.
Cold callers are asking people to pay for the vaccine over the phone. However, there is no charge for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Colin Mathieson, spokesperson for the charity Advice Direct Scotland, which runs Scotland’s national consumer advice service consumeradvice.scot, said:
“Sadly, this is not the first instance that unscrupulous fraudsters have looked to exploit this public health crisis in an attempt to steal personal information and bank details.
“We have seen this throughout the pandemic, with scams including the sale of fake PPE and targeting of the Test and Protect programme. What we are now sadly seeing is criminals targeting the crucial roll-out of the vaccination programme.
“The NHS will not require bank details in relation to vaccinations
“We urge all Scots to remain scam aware, think very carefully before sharing your personal information, and if you think a message or an email involving NHS initiatives doesn’t look or seem right, then it probably isn’t.”