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Don’t get caught out by COVID scams

Release Date: 08 January 2021

Richmond Council is warning residents about a text message scam pretending to be from the NHS asking people to 'sign up' to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The dangerous false NHS-looking text has been circulating, telling people they’re eligible to apply for the COVID-19 vaccine. It's very authentic looking and convincing, using NHS lettering, colours and logo. As with all scams, it intends to trick people into disclosing personal information such as bank or credit card details, address and ID.

Do not press any buttons on the text or click any links.

Cold calls regarding the vaccine are also beginning to take place – there are already reports of scammers asking people to pay for it over the phone. If you receive one of these calls, hang up immediately.

Other scams reported include lockdown fine messages, offers of health supplements that will prevent you becoming infected and offers of financial support.

A guide to identifying scams (pdf, 905 KB) has been produced. All residents are urged to read this.

Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, said:

'This site is pretending to be an application form from the NHS for the COVID-19 vaccine. It looks official but it is not – it is a scam to steal your bank details.

'If you get a message like this DON’T click on the links. Remember, the NHS, the Council or any official body will NEVER ask you to confirm your bank details.

'And nobody will be asked to register for the COVID-19 vaccination programme – people who are eligible for the vaccine will be contacted by their GP surgery when it is their turn.

'These scammers are scum. People are scared of catching the virus and the scammers are exploiting those fears to try to steal money from people who fall for their lies.

'Please spread the word about this scam, in particular to those who may be more vulnerable to being taken in. There is no shame in falling for these scams; they look professional and look official and it is only by raising awareness of them that we can stop the scammers in their tracks.'

Report a scam message


Image of the scam messages.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P014/21

Updated: 24 March 2021