Currently more than six million first doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered, and the plan is for millions more to be vaccinated before the middle of February.
Unfortunately, scammers are seeing this as an opportunity to take advantage of people desperate to get the Covid jab.
Now councils are warning people against the highly sophisticated scams – and urging people to be vigilant.
Scammers are seemingly texting, calling or emailing people to offer them vaccinations at a cost.
Some of the texts include a fake NHS website with a booking link – and it looks very convincing.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said the coronavirus vaccine will always be free in the UK, and delivered by the NHS.
When it’s your turn to be offered the vaccine, you will be sent a letter by the NHS informing you of your eligibility.
You will also receive a call from Primary Care Networks offering a GP-leg vaccination or using the national booking service.
The LGA has said if you are genuinely being contacted about the vaccine, the NHS will never:
- Ask for payment or bank details
- Ask you to press a button on your keypad on the phone
- Ask you to send a text to confirm booking
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If you are genuinely concerned about whether an approach is genuine, you should speak to your GP surgery.
Cllr Nesil Caliskan, Chair of the LGA's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “With the UK scaling up its Covid-19 vaccinations across the country, ruthless and opportunistic scammers will be looking to take advantage of the rollout.
“Everyone must remain vigilant to these scams and tell family and friends what to look out for to help avoid them being scammed.
“The NHS will never charge for a coronavirus vaccine, so anyone claiming to offer you a booking over the phone or online who asks for payment or bank details is attempting to scam you."
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“When you are contacted about your legitimate vaccine, you will be offered to book through your GP or the national booking service, and if you aren’t sure about the call’s validity, call your GP who will be able to confirm this to you.
“The rollout of the vaccine provides reason to be optimistic and it can be exciting to receive a text or call about it, but we must make sure we don’t get complacent when it comes to scams.”
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