Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees says his mother has been targeted by fraudsters requesting payment for the coronavirus vaccine.
He has issued a warning about the text message scam involving criminals pretending to be from the NHS or a doctor’s surgery.
Speaking during a Facebook Live, he said it is "sad that ever since lockdown began people have been trying to step into the vulnerability exposed by Covid to exploit and steal from other people".
“The Covid-19 vaccine is free and the NHS will never ask you for payment details.
“If anyone asks you for payment in relation to the Coivd-19 vaccine, just immediately delete it.
“My mum got some messages like this and was asking me about it, and I said ‘Just ignore it’.
The Government’s National Cyber Security Centre has issued a series of warnings about fake text messages offering the coronavirus vaccine in exchange for money.
Some contain a link that goes to a fraudulent website or asks for bank details and personal information, while others steal money by getting the recipient to reply unknowingly via premium-rate texts.
Meanwhile, Mr Rees said the increase in Covid-19 in Bristol was “very stark” and that the new, more transmissible variant was almost certainly spreading throughout the city.
He said the case rate as of January 7 was 489.2 per 100,000 Bristol residents, compared with an England average of 630.
It was 993 In Liverpool, 1,004 in London and 458 in Manchester, while locally it stood at 448 in South Gloucestershire, 378 in Bath & North East Somerset and 377 in North Somerset.
The mayor said it is also "highly likely" that the Covid-19 variant is circulating in Bristol.
“We know the variant is more easily transmitted, up to 50 per cent more potent than the strain we got used to.
“There are many things that are not in our control but there are many things that are in our control.
“We have to continue to be gracious and care for each other at this time.”