HSE warns public over Covid-19 vaccination appointment text scam

People being targeted with fake appointment messages that request payment details

The HSE has urged members of the public to be vigilant about a new text scam. Photograph: iStock

The HSE has urged members of the public to be vigilant about a new text scam. Photograph: iStock

 

Criminals are targeting members of the public with scam Covid-19 vaccination appointment texts that request payment, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has warned.

The HSE on Friday pointed out that not only are vaccines free, but that people will never be asked for financial details by its staff.

“The HSE is urging the public to be vigilant in light of reports of a text scam from criminals claiming to be offering a HSE vaccination appointment,” it said.

“The HSE does not charge the public for Covid-19 related services, including vaccinations, and such texts should be ignored.”

As with other similar text scams, the recipient is provided with a link and then asked to enter credit or debit card details in a payment section. It is the latest in a string of efforts to fraudulently obtain money or access to sensitive data via hoax SMS contacts.

Throughout the pandemic, official advertisements on the vaccine rollout have stressed they are free.

This weekend, the HSE is operating walk-in vaccination centres at locations across the country, a significant step up in administering vaccines as quickly as possible to those over the age of 16.

Authorities have said that anyone concerned or suspicious about contacts should contact HSELive on 1800 700 700 or gardaí.