Authorities in the UK have warned citizens of a sweeping scam that purports to be from the NHS in relation to COVID-19 vaccines. Many had initially feared that the intense interest in vaccines would lead to an uptick in scam cases. It seems, in the UK, that it has. Citizens in the UK are warned to be wary of any text messages purporting to be from the NHS and relating to any COVID-19 vaccines.
The scam messages in question tell victims that they are “eligible to apply for your vaccine” before leading them to a fake website. The website is a spoof of the official NHS website and can be misleading for older UK citizens. The site says that it’s for signing up for a potential vaccine and asks for bank information as confirmation for a signup. Of course, this is where the scam is trying to get your money.
Whether you live in the UK or elsewhere, these types of scams are all too common. It’s been made worse in some regions, like in parts of the US, where the vaccine distribution has been decentralized. In the UK, the NHS has been centrally handling vaccinations. In the US, that’s been left to the states and to individual hospitals. As a result, it’s been tough to isolate where people should be going to get their vaccines and how to sign up to be on wait lists.
In some parts of the US, hospitals actually have been texting people out of the blue to get them to sign up for vaccinations. This is highly irresponsible on the part of the hospitals; cold texts are a telltale sign of a scam. The average American would dismiss such a text as completely fraudulent, thus leading to a lower vaccination rate than hoped.
Indeed, the US is lagging behind in terms of vaccinations. Despite targeting 20 million vaccinations by the end of 2020, that number stands at 4 million currently. Officials in the US have warned that at this slow pace it will take 7 years for the population to reach herd immunity.
Vaccination scams have played their part in keeping people from getting their shots. Many people would rather just wait until the vaccine rollout is more robust so they can visit a clinic and get a shot without wait lists. That way, some figure, they get to sidestep the potential for getting scammed.