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Be aware of Covid-related scams

Published Friday, 15 January 2021

People in York are being urged to guard themselves against a recent spate of scams relating to Covid-19.

Residents have reported receiving fake mobile texts, calls or emails offering vaccine appointments or claim to be about Test and Trace. In most cases the texts and emails contain a link that asks for payment or further personal details.

People in York and the region are being invited to be vaccinated when it’s their turn. They will be invited by the NHS, their local GP practice, or in York by Nimbuscare, a local consortium of 11 GP practices.

NHS vaccines and tests are free, so they will never ask for payment or for an individual’s bank details. Because they already hold individual’s personal details they won’t ask for them either.

Residents are being asked to remember these ways to protect themselves and other people from scams:

Be wary of people selling or offering:

  • Vaccines or ‘miracle cures’
  • People calling at your door offering to sell you and give you a vaccine
  • Shopping or medication collection services
  • Overpriced or fake goods
  • Offers to clean your home of coronavirus

Don’t be rushed but check out what’s being offered:

  • If you’re unsure, ask family and friends before accepting offers of help
  • It’s OK to refuse or ignore approaches. If someone tries to pressure or rush you, they are unlikely to be genuine
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  • Only buy goods or services from trusted sellers
  • Think carefully before parting with money or personal information

Dr Nigel Wells, Clinical Chair of NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

COVID-19 vaccines are available only on the NHS for free.

"Our staff are currently working their way through vaccinating priority groups in York and the surrounding areas, and people are being invited directly by the local NHS when it’s their turn.

“Anyone asking you to pay for a vaccine is committing a crime. The NHS will never ask you to press a button on your keypad or send a text to confirm you want the vaccine, and we’ll never ask for payment or for your bank details.”

Councillor Andrew Waller, executive member with responsibility for Trading Standards at City of York Council, said:

The NHS will contact you direct when it is your turn to be vaccinated.

"Preying on people’s worries about Covid-19 at this time is despicable. We understand that people want to do all they can to protect themselves and their loved ones, and we advise caution and checking before sharing any personal information or handing over money.

“If you think you have identified a scam or are suspicious about an approach, please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 2231133, or report scams or suspected scams to Action Fraud: 0300 123 2040.

Tell a friend, neighbour or relative about any scams you become aware of.