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How to avoid vaccine scams

Criminals are still using the coronavirus vaccine programme as a way of tricking people into handing over money or financial details.

Here, we explain how the scams work and how you can spot them.

How the scams work

Typically, fraudsters send convincing-looking text messages and make bogus phone calls. They pretend to be from the NHS or a local pharmacy and tell you you’re eligible for the coronavirus vaccine. There are also fake websites and sometimes criminals even call at victims’ homes in person.

Text messages: these seek to collect personal and financial details by asking you to confirm that you want the vaccine. 

Phone calls: fake callers ask for a fee or bank details to pay for the vaccine.

Websites: these may contain fake NHS booking forms which look genuine.

In person: some fraudsters turn up unannounced, pretending to be from the NHS and ask for a cash payment.

How to spot a vaccine scam

The NHS will never do any of the following:

  • ask for a payment for the vaccine
  • ask for your bank details
  • call unannounced at your home to vaccinate you
  • ask you to send copies of documents such as passports as proof of ID

If you’re in doubt, ignore text messages that don’t feel right or hang up on calls. And remember that any NHS visits will always be agreed in advance with you or through carers. You can contact your GP surgery if you want to check whether a message or call you’ve received is genuine.

What to do if you’ve been a victim

If you have an account with us and think you may have fallen victim to a vaccine scam, contact us using the number on the back of your card.

Find out more about other coronavirus scams that are still going on.

Download the HSBC Fraud and Cyber Awareness app to stay up to date with the latest scams. You can get the latest alerts straight to your phone and test your knowledge with our range of quizzes.