Sick scammers pretend to be offering NHS Covid vaccinations in bid to steal bank details

  • People targeted by the scammers are given the option to accept or decline invite
  • If they accept invite they are taken to a page that asks for all their bank details 
  • Juliana Benetton, 45, received an email from [email protected]

Sophisticated scammers are exploiting Britain’s mass vaccination programme by sending out bogus emails and text messages purporting to be from the NHS offering a Covid jab.

Those targeted are told that they have been chosen, ‘on the basis of family genetics and medical history’ and are given the option to accept or decline the invitation.

But if they accept they are taken through to another page that asks for all their bank details to ‘charge or rebate any charges linked to the vaccination programs’.

Events manager Juliana Benetton, 45, said: ‘It looked unbelievably real. It arrived in my inbox late at night and I was really excited. I thought this is amazing, I am going to get the jab.

Juliana Benetton, 45, was told she had been chosen to receive an NHS coronavirus vaccine by scammers

Ms Benetton was taken to what appeared to be an NHS website and asked to confirm or reject whether she would like to take the coronavirus vaccination

‘I did think it was strange because I am Brazilian with an Italian passport so I wondered why I should have been chosen.

‘I thought it must be because my brother’s family in Birmingham had all gone down with Covid a few weeks ago. I thought maybe that could explain it.

‘I even rang my sister in Brazil and she told me I was so lucky. It was only when I clicked through that I realised it must be a scam because they were asking for all my bank details.

‘The people who do this are disgusting. They are preying on vulnerable people with health problems and trying to steal their money.

‘I know that some people will be taken it because it looks identical to something you might get from the NHS.’

The email arrived in Juliana’s inbox showing as coming from [email protected] with the sub-heading ‘Book an appointment using the NHS’s e-referral service’.

The email, with NHS Test and Trace logo at the top, reads: ‘This is a public health message from the NHS.

‘As part of the government’s co-ordinated response to Coronavirus, NHS is performing selections for coronavirus vaccination on the basis of family genetics and medical history.

‘You have been selected to receive a coronavirus vaccination.’

It adds some classic NHS information about the vaccination being ‘the best protection against coronavirus’ and states: ‘You are free to reject this invitation , your appointment will be issued to the next person in line in that case.’

Targets are then offered a choice to ‘Accept’ or ‘Decline’ and are then taking through to another page asking for their bank details.

Social media was full of warnings about the scammers.

The scammers told Ms Benetton that she had been selected to receive the vaccine on the basis of family genetics and medical history

If people accept they are  taken through to another page that asks for all their bank details

The email arrived in Ms Benetton’s inbox from [email protected] with the sub-heading ‘Book an appointment using the NHS’s e-referral service

Stephen Moss, an author, tweeted: ‘WARNING!!! Just had an official looking NHS email with the heading ‘The latest alert of covid-19 vaccine – ReferenceID 42744187 inviting me for a vaccination. Closer looks shows it to be a scam. BE VERY CAREFUL AND WARN YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY.’

And retired English teacher Daphne Miles wrote: ‘SOS My sister tells me that friends have received emails purporting to be from NHS, telling them they are eligible for a covid vaccination and ASKING FOR CARD DETAILS! Very nasty scam!’

Kirsty Smith, 33, who works for the NHS in Bedfordshire said: ‘What these people are doing is exploiting people’s fears for their own financial gain. It’s outrageous.

‘My friend’s grandparents were targeted over the phone. They are both in their 70s, very anxious and looking forward to being offered the vaccine.

‘When he got a phone call on their landline someone claiming to be from their local vaccination centre, he was just relieved and gave his bank details thinking it would secure their place. Now they have something else to worry about.’

The National Cybe Security Centre and Action Fraud have asked anyone who receives a scam email or text to report it.

In a tweet the NHS said: ‘The COVID-19 vaccine is free of charge on the NHS. We will never ask for your bank account or card details, your pin or banking password, copies of personal documents to prove your identity such as your passport, driving licence bills or pay slips.’

A spokeswoman for Derbyshire police said: ‘If you receive a text or email that asks your to click on a link for you to provide information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it’s a scam.’

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