Covid-19 vaccine phishing scam circulating in North
Text message tells recipients they are ‘eligible’ for jab and seeks bank details
The Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in a syringe before being administered to a patient at Falls Surgery, Belfast. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
An example of the scam message that uses the Covid-19 vaccine to attempt to access bank details. Image courtesy of PSNI
A new text message scam is circulating in Northern Ireland that uses the Covid-19 vaccine to trick people into revealing their bank details.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) warned people to be on their guard against the phishing scam, which tells the recipient they are “eligible” for vaccination.
The scam message claims that “we have identified that you are eligible to apply for your vaccine” and includes a link to a website which appears to be from the NHS but which is in fact a fake.
The website then asks people to provide their bank details.
“If you receive a text or email that asks you to click on a link or for you to provide information, such as your name, credit card or bank details, it’s likely to be a scam,” the PSNI said.
“Scams can come in many forms, and this one is just the latest attempt by fraudsters to exploit the pandemic for financial gain.”
Two types of vaccines have been approved for use in the North, with the first introduced in December and the second, developed by OxfordAstraZeneca, given for the first time earlier this week by GPs, who are vaccinating the over-80s at their surgeries.
About 50,000 people in Northern Ireland have so far received their first dose of coronavirus vaccine, with nine out of 10 care home residents inoculated.
The North’s Minister for Health, Robin Swann, said he hoped to have all over-80s vaccinated in the next few weeks.
The PSNI advised that people could protect themselves from scams by ensuring they did not open attachments or click on links in emails or texts from people they did not know.
Never give out personal information, banking details or passwords in response to an email, text or phone call without verifying the caller is who they say they are, and always go directly to a website by typing out the address yourself rather than clicking on a link, the police said.