Vulnerable targeted by Covid vaccine scammers

Healthcare cure concept with a hand in blue medical gloves holding Coronavirus, Covid 19 virus, vaccine

Watchdogs in Norfolk have urged people not to fall for coronavirus vaccination scams. - Credit: Adobe Stock

People in Norfolk have been warned to watch out for Covid-19 vaccination scams, amid concerns con artists are trying to exploit the vulnerable.

Officers at Norfolk Trading Standards say there have been reports across the country of people being contacted out of the blue with offers of a coronavirus vaccination.

They say the approaches have been made by text and from a recorded voice message on the telephone.

In each case the recipient is required to respond by clicking a link in the text message or by pressing 1 when receiving the call.

They are then asked to give personal information, as well as financial details to book their vaccination.

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A spokesman for Norfolk Trading Standards, which is based at Norfolk County Council, said: "These are scams. Criminals are exploiting the current situation to attempt to steal personal details and your money.

"The NHS is currently offering the Covid-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus. These people will be contacted by the NHS.

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"There has been a surge worldwide of vaccine related phishing email scams. We expect to see an increase in these in the coming days.

"Phishing emails seen have contained malicious files that installed malware, or links to bogus websites to obtain the victim's information."

Officers said people can protect themselves against vaccine-themed phishing campaigns by checking the email address on incoming messages.

They said: "Be alert to hyperlinks that contain misspelled domain names; be aware of highly emotive language designed to manipulate you; do not supply login credentials or personal information in response to an email; monitor key financial accounts regularly; and keep software and apps updated."

Any scams in Norfolk can be reported to Trading Standards via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.

Vaccinations of the most vulnerable people started at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and James Paget University Hospital - which have been designated as vaccination hubs - last week.

The jabs are now being rolled out to GP surgeries, with more expected to be offering vaccinations by appointment soon.

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