Public warned over coronavirus cons amid rising vaccine fraud reports

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Doctors and police are warning the public not to fall for fraudsters trying to sell fake coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccines, affirming that the jab will always be free.

Scams rising

Reports to Action Fraud have been rising in the last two months, particularly around scam text messages, as con artists seek to gain from the pandemic. City of London Police are investigating one case in which a man knocked on the door of a 92-year-old woman and administered a fake vaccine before charging £160 and claiming it would be reimbursed by the NHS.

Suspicious text messages reported by members of the public urge people to click a link to a bogus booking site which mimics an NHS page. The site asks for for personal details such as bank account numbers.

Con artists have also been known to use telephone calls to extract payments.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said:

Read on...

Vaccines are our way out of this pandemic. It is vital that we do not let a small number of unscrupulous fraudsters undermine the huge team effort under way across the country to protect millions of people from this terrible disease.

It comes as the latest figures showed that 3.23 million people across the UK have received the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

Hard work

England’s top GP joined the head of Action Fraud, the National Crime Agency, and the National Cyber Security Centre in issuing advice to combat vaccine scams. A number of people are already serving prison sentences for coronavirus-related cons over the last year, NHS England said.

GP Nikki Kanani, the medical director for primary care for NHS England, said that:

Over a thousand NHS teams across the country are working hard to deliver vaccines quickly to those who would benefit most and are doing an amazing job, with over two million people already getting their first dose.

We know how excited people are to get the vaccine when it’s their turn to do so, but sadly we’re seeing that excitement is also bringing out the cheats, crooks and con people looking to make money from this life-saving programme.

Remember, the vaccine will always be free on the NHS. Our staff will never ask for, or accept, cash for vaccines, never ask for your banking details or identity documents, and will never come around to your house unannounced.

As of 10 January, Action Fraud had received 65 reports in relation to coronavirus vaccines.

Always free

During the vaccine rollout, the NHS says it will never ask for bank account or card details, a banking PIN or password, and never ask individuals to prove their identity by sending copies of personal documents such as a passport, driving licence, bills, or payslips.

Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud, said:

Thankfully, the number of reports into Action Fraud are relatively low but we have seen an increase in the last two months, particularly around scam text messages. Anyone asking for payment for the vaccine is committing fraud.

If you have received a text message, email or phone call where someone has tried to charge you for the vaccine please report this to Action Fraud, even if you haven’t given them any money.

Your report can help us protect others.

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  • Show Comments
    1. Fan ‘the narrative’ beware of false claims. The vaccine isn’t an expertimental treatment it’s 95% effective (or so the claim goes)
      “…the Pfizer vaccine, is said to be “95 percent effectiveness” – a number as dangerously misleading as it could possibly be. Many people will say: Why wouldn’t you get the vaccine? Ninety five people out of 100 benefit? That’s awesome.

      Then you’d be misled. Here’s what 95 percent means in real terms: In a trial of about 40,000 people, the two-month study reported that there were 92 people per 10,000 who developed Covid-19 symptoms.

      For every 10,000 people vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, four people developed mild Covid-19 symptoms. For every 10,000 given a placebo shot, 88 developed mild Covid-19 symptoms. Get it? Since 88 is “95 percent less than” 92, the vaccine is then said to be “95 percent effective”.

      So, to put those numbers in perspective, the Covid-19 vaccine reduced 84 cases of mild Covid-19 per 10,000 vaccinated, or about eight per thousand. But what it also means is that most people – in this case, 9,916 vaccinated people (out of 10,000) – saw no benefit. Will they be harmed? We don’t know.” (

      So, when we consider the article’s ‘narrative’ and some of the final quote that generated the ‘interest’ or ‘value’ in the issue itself (“Thankfully, the number of reports into Action Fraud are relatively low ..”) one wonders why it is even a story that a so-called ‘independent’ media outlet even runs it… other than to fan the ‘narrative’.

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