consumeradvice.scot have received a number of contacts relating to scammers falsely offering Scottish consumers the Covid-19 vaccination. Scammers have been reaching out to consumers using different methods, including email, SMS, and telephone.
79% of the consumers who contacted consumeradvice.scot since December of last year in relation to Covid-19 vaccination scams received these requests via email from the scammers, most of which contained fake NHS branding and links requesting additional personal information, or even payment details.
One consumer who contacted consumeradvice.scot anonymously advised that a link in the email redirected them to a website requesting their “name, address and payment card details – including long card number”.
Questions of Legitimacy
Daniel Kennedy of Tollcross, Glasgow received an email claiming 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. Use this service to confirm your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination now. You will need to: have 2 doses of the coronavirus vaccination at 2 appointments – book both appointments at the same time get the 2nd dose 3 to 4 weeks after getting your 1st dose.”
Mr Kennedy immediately identified this was a potential scam and reported it to consumeradvice.scot straight away:
“I knew that the NHS wouldn’t approach me in this way. There was an option to accept or decline the invitation in the email, but there were no logos and the email just didn’t seem legitimate.”
So, what does a scam Covid-19 Vaccination email look like?
These emails can use official NHS branding, medical terminology and use of personal information to seem like they are legitimate.
An additional 14% of the contacts received by consumeradvice.scot in the same time period relating to Covid-19 vaccination scams saw scammers approaching Scottish consumers by SMS. These text messages often contained links to cloned websites, requesting the same personal details and / or payment information.
A further 7% of the people contacting in relation to vaccination scams were approached over the telephone, with the scammer hanging up in all instances when consumers questioned their authenticity. The majority of the calls received appeared to be from mobile numbers beginning ‘07’.
You will never be requested to pay for a Covid-19 vaccination. Scam websites can be highly detailed, or even ‘cloned’ to look identical to another official NHS website.
If you are concerned about scams or think that you have been scammed, consumeradvice.scot are able to offer free and practical advice on this, and other consumer issues. You can contact consumeradvice.scot on 0808 164 6000. We are open 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday. You can follow us on social media – Twitter: @advicedotscot and Facebook at www.facebook.com/advice.scot, Instagram: @advice.scot, or get ahead by visiting our knowledge centre at www.consumeradvice.scot.
You can also report suspected scams and suspicious activity at scamwatch.scot.