Fake Covid-19 vaccine scam alert

Lauren Cowie of the cyber protection unit

Lauren Cowie of the cyber protection unit - Credit: Lauren Cowie

Devon and Cornwall Police’s Cyber Protect Unit are currently urging East Devon residents to be aware of a current text messaging scam which purports to come from the NHS.   
Recipients receive a text message stating that they are eligible to apply for their vaccine and there is a link to click on to get more information and to ‘apply’.   
Clicking on the link takes users to a fake NHS website which then asks for personal and financial details, in order to verify their identity.   
Devon and Cornwall Police said this is something the NHS would never do.  
Lauren Cowie, of the cyber protection unit, said: “Please remain vigilant of Coronavirus scams.   
“Cybercriminals exploit current events such as the pandemic, preying on the fears of the Coronavirus and sending ‘phishing’ text messages that try and entice users into clicking on a bad link.  
“Stop and Think! Always follow the advice form Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign and Stop, Challenge, Protect when being asked for your money or information through a text message, email or social media.” 
Police say cyber criminals are using the roll out of the coronavirus vaccines to target victims with convincing-looking text messages. 

Fake NHS Covid-19 vaccine text alert

Fake NHS Covid-19 vaccine text alert - Credit: Laura Cowie - Cyber Protect Officer

The text messages appear to the from the NHS and a link takes the victim to a fake website which takes personal and financial information. 
Other Covid-19 related scams include fake links claiming to be from GOV.UK saying the victim can claim some kind of benefit while another scam text claims the recipient has been fined for breaching lockdown. 
If anyone receives these messages, they should forward the message to 7726. If they do click on any link, they should immediately report it to Action Fraud. 
Advice is available at https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/covid-19/general-advice-covid/ 
For further advice on staying safe online police also recommend readers to visit Cyber Aware, which is the government’s advice on how to stay secure online: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberaware/home 
The Cyber Protect Unit offers free cyber security training to business, organisations and public groups.   
Any businesses or organisations interested should contact Laura Cowie or Grahame Mace by emailing cyberprotect@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk

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