Warning as Covid vaccine scam emails spread across the North West

People are being warned to take care after a rise in a "despicable" new scam.

Emails are being sent to people purporting to be from the NHS, telling them that they have been selected to receive the Covid vaccine.

But if people click on the link to attempt to book their "appointment" - they are then asked for bank details and other personal information.

Lee Chambers, a psychologist from Preston, was one of those to be targeted.

He recognised all was not right before handing over any details to the scammers, but warns that these messages looked far more convincing than the usual phishing emails he comes across.

Lee Chambers says the scammers are using medical terminology and familiar NHS logos to hook people in.

"It did initially have the look of a professional email - there wasn't anything that immediately flagged it to me, as someone who quite often comes across these things in his inbox, that it's not from where it claims. There were no spelling mistakes, it was correctly aligned, and used medical terminology."

Police have received a thousand reports of this type of email over the last week.

They're urging people to remember that the coronavirus vaccine is free - and that the NHS will never ask you for payment details, or copies of personal documents to prove your identity.

DCI Martina Elliott, from Action Fraud, added "These are absolute red flags and people should be hearing alarm bells if they are asked for any of those details. We would say to people - please trust in the NHS, please trust in the system, and wait until you get the official offer for the vaccine."

Phishing emails like this lure people into thinking they have been selected for the Covid vaccine.

Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board Member for Trading Standards, Cllr Dave Cargill said the Covid vaccines will only be available via NHS England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. 

He said: "You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or pharmacy local to you, to receive your vaccine."


•The NHS will never ask for your bank account or card details.•The NHS will never ask for your PIN or banking password.•The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.•The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.

If you receive a call that you believe to be a scammer, hang up immediately.

If you suspect you have received a fraudulent email, forward it to the following email: report@phishing.gov.uk.

Any suspicious texts should be forwarded to 7726 which is free of charge.

If you need advice on anything else please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.