Public urged to be vigilant against Covid vaccine and testing scams

A woman has issued a warning after she was targeted by a COVID vaccine scam text.

Norfolk County Council has urged the public to be vigilant against Covid vaccine and testing scams amid the booster jab rollout - Credit: Denise Bradley

Members of the public have reported an increase in phishing text messages and emails this week after the government announced plans to deliver booster jabs to all eligible adults by the end of the year. 

Health bosses have said they face the "most challenging days yet" as thousands book to get their Covid-19 booster jabs amid a rise in cases linked to the Omicron variant. 

One scam that has been reported takes people to a fake version of the NHS website after claiming they could get a free Omicron PCR test. 

Norfolk County Council is urging the public to remain vigilant against coronavirus scams and to report anything that appears suspicious.

Stephen Maunder, communities officer for Norfolk County Council’s Trading Standards, said: "Please be vigilant with texts and emails pretending to be the NHS.

"Scammers can make these messages appear genuine with convincing logos and branding but remember, the NHS will never ask for payment for Covid vaccines or testing.

"Vaccines and testing are completely free and the NHS will never ask for your bank details."

Covid vaccine and testing scams

A member of the public received this text message but when clicking on the link, they were asked to enter personal details and pay money to receive a Covid vaccine pass - Credit: Supplied

Phishing scams have appeared in a variety of forms over the past two years and often seem legitimate initially. 

Types of scams have previously offered fake Covid vaccine passes, PCR tests and vaccines.

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One person said they received a genuine looking text message but when clicking on the link, they were asked to provide personal details and told there was a £4.99 charge to process the forms. 

Mr Maunder added: "A recent scam to watch out for is fake NHS free Omicron PCR testing requests. Anyone clicking on the link will be taken to a fake version of the NHS website which will attempt to gather personal and financial details.

“If you receive something ‘out of the blue’, do not click on any of the links, chances are it could be a scam."

Anyone who receives anything which looks suspicious is urged to forward it to the National Cyber Security Centre's Suspicious Email Reporting Service or report it via the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

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