Warning about Covid-19 text message scams

Primary interest
Voluntary sector

There have been reports of a new scam where a person receives a text saying they need to book a vaccination appointment and it takes them to a fake NHS form which then asks for their bank details to prove their identity. The NHS will never ask for banking information. The scam has been reported in the media here.

There is a texting scam leaflet from the Government Counter Fraud Function which you can download here
It lists the top four Covid-19 text message scams as:
  • Fake URL links claiming to link to the GOV.UK website to claim supposed Covid-19 related payment.
  • Lockdown fines suggesting you have breached lockdown.
  • Offers of health supplements that will prevent you becoming infected.
  • Financial support offers that appear to be from your bank.
It advises the following steps to verify that a text message is genuine:
  1. Challenge – could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests that don’t feel right. Check GOV.UK to ensure it’s genuine.
  2. Be wary of text messages that try to get you to send money, or important personal information such as bank details or passwords.
  3. Take a moment to stop and think before parting with information to keep you safe or your money.
  4. Use official government websites and refer to ‘Contact Us’ sections of websites to access information and services.
And if you think you have received a scam message:
  • Don’t Respond
  • Report the SMS Scam to Action Fraud
  • Forward the message to 7726 (‘SPAM’ on a keypad)