Sussex residents warned by police of ‘shameful’ Covid scams

Sussex Police is telling people to be alert following two reports of a vaccine scam in the county.

Tuesday, 19th January 2021, 8:18 am

Police officers are issuing an alert about Covid vaccine scams.

A 91-year-old man from Haywards Heath received a text message from who he thought was his GP practice and opened it on December 26.

According to police, the message contained details about the Covid vaccine the man was due to receive. The victim clicked on a link asking for personal information then the page shut down when he added in his details. The man reported it as a possible scam and fortunately no money was lost.

A 75-year-old woman in East Grinstead received a fraudulent phone call about the vaccine on January 14.

Police constable Bernadette Lawrie, financial abuse safeguarding officer, said, “Anyone would use the public health crisis we are facing to attempt to exploit people is completely shameful.

“We are aware of reports around the country where the elderly and vulnerable have lost money to this sort of scam so we are urging the public to be vigilant and report anything suspicious to Action Fraud or police.”

Action Fraud says it has reported cases nationally where victims have been asked to send financial details by scammers to pay for vaccines.

How to protect yourself:

In the UK coronavirus vaccines will only be available via the NHS. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or local pharmacy to receive your vaccine. The vaccine is free of charge.

- The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.

- The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.

- The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.

- The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or payslips.

According to police, if you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you are suspicious about an email you have received forward it to [email protected] Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to 7726 which is free of charge.

If you believe you are the victim of fraud please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk. If the victim is vulnerable please report to Sussex Police online or call 101.