Don’t be stung by fake jab scams — here’s our guide to spotting Covid cons


TAKE a good look at this website – to avoid being scammed with a fake Covid-19 jab.

Fraudsters are using bogus NHS emails and texts to make people pay for these vaccines or hand over their bank details, police and health officials are warning.

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Fraudsters are using bogus NHS emails and texts to make people pay for Covid vaccines

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Fraudsters are using bogus NHS emails and texts to make people pay for Covid vaccinesCredit: Shutterstock
The NHS will never ask for your bank details

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The NHS will never ask for your bank details

In some shocking cases, conmen are even turning up on vulnerable people’s doorsteps, taking money and injecting them with an unknown substance they claim is a vaccine.

Action Fraud head Pauline Smith called the scammers “despicable”.

She said: “Not only are the people being targeted at risk of losing money or having their identity stolen, they are also at risk of not receiving the real vaccine.”

In the first week of last month, Action Fraud received 57 reports of vaccine-related scams, but it told The Sun it got 751 by the first week of this month – a 13-fold increase.

The Suspicious Email Reporting Service, launched last year by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the City of London Police, has received nearly 14,000 reports of Covid-19 vaccine phishing emails since January 4.

Recognise the threat

FRAUDSTERS chiefly target victims by sending an email or text that looks like it comes from the NHS.

It says they have been selected for a vaccine based on their “family genetics and medical history” and asks you to click on a link to confirm you want the vaccine.

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This scam message is littered with poor grammar

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This scam message is littered with poor grammar

It leads to a webpage that looks like a legit NHS site, with a form asking for personal details.

The target is asked to enter bank or card details to “confirm their identity” or to register to receive the vaccine.

But criminals use this information to commit identity fraud and steal money.

Targets’ financial details can be sold on to organised criminal gangs or used to buy goods online.

Action Fraud’s Pauline Smith warned: “The NHS will never ask you for details about your bank account or to pay for the vaccine.

“If you receive an email, text message or phone call purporting to be from the NHS and you are asked to provide financial details, this is a scam.”

Phones and ‘phony jabs’

THE Government has warned of phone scams, too.

Fraudsters posing as NHS or pharmacy staff call asking for payment details to register for the vaccine.

Fraudsters posing as NHS or pharmacy staff call asking for payment details to register for the vaccine — pictured official mobile NHS App

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Fraudsters posing as NHS or pharmacy staff call asking for payment details to register for the vaccine — pictured official mobile NHS AppCredit: Alamy

Some claim vaccines are being delivered door-to-door and they require payment before being sent.

The NHS’s top GP, Dr Nikki Kanani, said the vaccine programme was unfortunately “bringing out the cheats, crooks and con-people” looking to profit.

There have also been disturbing allegations of people turning up at OAPs’ homes, charging them for a jab then injecting them with a phony vaccine.

David Chambers, 33, faces trial over claims he conned a 92-year-old woman out of £160 and gave her a fake vaccine at her home in Surbiton, South West London, in December.

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On February 2, Chambers, also from Surbiton, appeared at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court via video link, to deny the offences.

The trial is set for August 9.

Getting the real deal

WHEN you are eligible for a vaccine, the NHS will write, email, text or call to offer you an appointment, or ask you to book at a designated immunisation centre.

When eligible for a vaccine the NHS will write, email, text or call to offer you an appointment, or ask you to book at a designated immunisation centre

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When eligible for a vaccine the NHS will write, email, text or call to offer you an appointment, or ask you to book at a designated immunisation centreCredit: Alamy

A list of legitimate centres is at england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/ publication/vaccination-sites.

A vaccine is offered based on level of risk, never on family or medical history, or “genetics”.

Some housebound patients will get a jab at home ­– by appointment arranged in advance, usually by your GP.

Dos and Don’ts

  • NEVER pay for a vaccine – it’s free and only on the NHS, you cannot buy one privately.
  • NEVER hand over your PIN, bank and card details, or passwords.
  • NEVER send copies of your personal documents.
  • CALL police if someone offers you a jab on the doorstep. The NHS is offering jabs only from dedicated centres.
  • LOOK for poor English, spelling, grammar and punctuation in texts, emails and websites. Genuine NHS communications and websites will not contain these.
  • CHECK the URL (full website address) when you click on a link: If it isn’t an “nhs.uk” website it’s probably a scam.
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