As the rollout of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history continues, patients receiving the Covid-19 vaccine at home are being urged to protect themselves from fraudulent activity.
NHS healthcare professionals are starting to visit housebound patients over the age of 80 years old to deliver the Covid-19 vaccine this week.
With a small number of people nationally having received suspicious calls and text messages offering the vaccine, NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria wanted to share some key points.
- 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 pay slips
- Anyone from the NHS visiting your home will have an NHS ID card – please ask to see it.
Jane Scattergood, Covid-19 Vaccination Director for Lancashire and South Cumbria, said:
“Being able to start offering Covid-19 vaccinations to housebound residents helps us to protect more of the most vulnerable members of our local communities. GP teams will be in touch to arrange appointments in advance, so people will always know the date and time when a healthcare professional will visit them to deliver their vaccination at home. NHS teams visiting your home will always have ID and they will never ask for payment or request your bank details.”
The vaccine roll-out, which began last month, is being delivered by GP-led primary care networks (PCNs) across the country. The patients who were identified as priority groups for the life-saving vaccine have been contacted by their GP surgery to book an appointment.
Detective Sergeant Stephanie Goulding, of Cumbria Police, said:
“Criminals will use every opportunity they can to defraud innocent people. They will continue to try to exploit every angle of this health emergency. We echo the advice given here. These key points will help protect people against anyone who does seek to take advantage of this situation.”
DI Warren Atkinson, Lancashire Constabulary Economic Crime Unit, said:
“The vaccine is a welcome and important tool in fighting the coronavirus. Thankfully, the number of these reports are relatively low, but we have seen an increase in the last two months, particularly around scam text messages. Please be aware that the vaccine is only available from the NHS and, most importantly, is free of charge. The NHS will never ask you for details about your bank account or to pay for the vaccine. If you receive an email, text message or phone call purporting to be from the NHS and you are asked to provide financial details, this is a scam.”
Action Fraud has received reports from members of the public who have been sent text messages claiming to be from the NHS, offering them the opportunity to sign up for the vaccine. The texts ask the recipient to click on a link, which takes them to an online form where they are prompted to input personal and financial details. In some cases the online form has looked very similar to the real NHS website.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726, which is free of charge. (These details can be used for any suspected scam). If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft you should report this directly to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Where the victim is vulnerable, and particularly if you are worried that someone has or might come to your house, report it to the Police online or by calling 101.
For more information about Covid-19 vaccinations in Lancashire and South Cumbria, please visit https://healthierlsc.co.uk/CovidVaccination.