Police are issuing an alert about Covid-19 vaccine scam texts following two reports in Sussex.

A 91-year-old man from Haywards Heath received a text message from who he thought was his GP practice and opened it on 26 December. 

The message contained details about the Covid-19 vaccine which he was due to receive. The victim clicked on a link asking for personal information which he provided. The page then shut down when he added in his details and he reported it as a possible scam. Fortunately no money was lost. 

Action Fraud has reported cases nationally where victims have been asked to send financial details by scammers to pay for vaccines.

A 75-year-old woman in East Grinstead areceived a fradulent phone call about the vaccine on 14 January. 

PC Bernadette Lawrie, Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer, said: “That anyone would use the public health crisis we are facing to attempt to exploit people is completely shameful.

“We are aware of reports around the country where the elderly and vulnerable have lost money to this sort of scam so we are urging the public to be vigilant and report anything suspicious to Action Fraud or police.”

How to protect yourself:

In the UK, coronavirus vaccines will only be available via the NHS. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or pharmacy local to you, to receive your vaccine. Remember, the vaccine is free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay.

– The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.

– The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.

– The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.

– The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to report@phishing.gov.uk. Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726 which is free of charge.

If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk

If the victim is vulnerable, please report to Sussex Police online or by calling 101.