Police warning about Covid booster scam ahead of festive period

Fraud can be 'utterly devastating' for victims Credit: PA

People in North Wales are being told to be vigilant to Covid booster scams making the rounds this Christmas.

Thieves are using the festive period to try and charge people for fake booster jabs, police have said.

The message comes after the former Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales, Wayne Jones, was targeted with a fake message to register for a third jab.

The message is said to come with a link which sends people to a false website, appearing to look like an official NHS site, which then asks for bank details.

Mr Jones is reminding people the NHS does not charge for Covid-related services and that unfamiliar texts or emails should not be opened.

The retired police Chief Superintendent said: "People are online more these days buying Christmas gifts or giving to charity so everybody needs to be aware if anything looks too good to be true, then it is.

"It's important that they have proper software and firewalls on all electronic devices to prevent them being infected by spyware or illegal software that tracks their online activity.

"Online purchases should be made from reputable suppliers while checking their returns and insurance policies

"It is also important to make sure that your online banking is secure and that you are protecting private information.

“I would just like people to be on their guard, particularly during the lead up to Christmas and the post-Christmas sales, as they are spending more money.

'It can be utterly devastating'

“Also be alert for phone calls from fraudsters saying they are calling on behalf of banking services.

“I’ve seen the impact that being a victim of fraud can have on people and it can be utterly devastating. It can be really damaging for individuals and for businesses.”

Tackling cyber crime is a key priority for North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin.

He said: “We know that during the pandemic cyber crime has gone up by 50 per cent in comparison to previous years.

“These scammers are totally unscrupulous – they’re using any opportunity that might be particularly pertinent at that particular time.

“To use the pandemic for a money making scam is the lowest of the low because we all know somebody who has had Covid and tragically some have lost their lives.

“Christmas is supposed to be the season of goodwill but these despicable scammers aim to make it a miserable time for their victims.”