The message tells people they have been identified as eligible for the vaccine, and asks them to click on a link. The link goes to a web page where people are asked to provide details including their date of birth, address and payment card details which it claims is for proof of identity.
Dr Iain Chorlton, GP and chairman of NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We’re all very worried to hear that these fraudulent messages are in circulation and shocked that whoever is behind them is trying to take advantage of some of our most vulnerable people at what is already an anxious time for many people.
“If you or a loved one receives a text message which looks suspicious, and crucially, asks for bank details – please ignore it. The NHS would never ask anyone for their bank details.
“The vaccine is free to all those in eligible groups, and our focus as a health and care system is on ensuring a safe and effective roll-out. The NHS will be in touch when it is your turn to be vaccinated.
“I would also like to appeal to those who may be behind the scam to stop it and stop it now. Not only is it illegal but it is also cruel.”
All those who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination will be contacted by the NHS when it is their turn to be vaccinated. GP practices regularly communicate with their patients by text message, but will never ask for personal information or bank details. If you are concerned about the authenticity of a text message from your GP, please contact the practice to confirm.
Ways to spot a scam
- Look out for spelling and grammatical errors.
- Even if a message or website looks like it is from the NHS, it doesn’t mean it is authentic.
- Anything that asks for you to provide bank or payment details in a text is likely to be bogus.
- Trust your instinct – if it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t.
- It in doubt, check it out.