Warning follows surge in Covid vaccine scam phishing emails

Suffolk Trading Standards vaccine scam warning

Suffolk Trading Standards warned people to be alert to potential vaccine scams - Credit: Suffolk Trading Standards

Authorities have warned of an overnight spike in scam emails claiming to be from the NHS and inviting people to receive a Covid-19 vaccination.

Officials said the bogus email contained links to a website requesting financial details to pay for the vaccine.

Suffolk Trading Standards said it had received a number of reports from people having received the email, while Action Fraud, the national police unit responsible for gathering and analysing cyber crime intelligence, said it too had received a high volume of reports relating to a phishing email on Monday, January 25.

Suffolk Trading Standards said the NHS would never ask for payment or bank details for the free vaccine and advised anyone receiving the email to forward it to the National Cyber Security Centre's Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) at Report@Phishing.Gov.UK.

Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726 free of charge.

Meanwhile, Action Fraud confirmed that criminals were continuing to take advantage of the coronavirus vaccine roll-out as phishing email reports soared.

It said more than 1,000 reports had been made in 24 hours about the email, which asks the recipient to click on a link to accept an invitation to receive the coronavirus vaccine, and then input personal information and bank card details.

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Action Fraud had previously warned about coronavirus vaccine scams, with many people reporting receiving fake text messages purporting to be from the NHS.

Head of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, warned the public to remain vigilant, adding: “It’s despicable that fraudsters will take advantage of such an important tool in the fight against this evil and deadly disease.

"Not only are the people being targeted with this email at risk of losing money, or having their identity stolen, but they are also at risk of not receiving the real vaccine.

“The public have been fantastic at reporting these scams to us and raising awareness in their local community as well. But unfortunately, as this latest phishing campaign shows, we still have to remain cautious and alert.

"Remember, anything purporting to be from the NHS asking you to pay for the vaccine, or provide your bank account or card details, is a scam.”

If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, call 0300 123 2040 or visit actionfraud.police.uk.