People across the UK are being warned to be on alert for potential Covid Pass scams.
The message comes from Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, which has warned of the phishing attempts by scammers.
It comes as the government has introduced new restrictions to help limit the spread of Covid, and the highly transmissible Omicron variant, over the festive period.
Those attempting to mislead say they are from the NHS in an effort to convince unsuspecting people to hand over money, financial details and / or personal information.
Here’s all you need to know about the ‘NHS Covid pass’ scam, how to spot a fraudulent text, email or phone call and what to do if you are on the receiving end of one...
What is the Covid pass scam?
Scammers are looking to deceive in an attempt to source money or sensitive information through text messages, emails, and phone calls pretending to be from the NHS.
They offer fake vaccine certificates for sale online and through social media, which they say can be used for entry to events and the like under the government’s Plan B rules.
Many of them will look similar to the real thing, scammers have developed sophisticated ways to lure people into parting with hard earned money, but are ultimately fraudulent.
How do I spot a Covid pass scam?
If you are looking to gain an NHS Covid Pass then the safest way to do so is through the NHS app, website or by calling 119 and following the instructions.
It is important to remember NHS Covid passes are free - and shouldn’t cost you anything.
But if you are contacted about your NHS Covid Pass then there are a few things to be aware of:
unrecognisable numbers or email addresses
requests to click on links or attachments
mention of payment, passwords, financial details, or personal information
Any sign of the above should set off alarm bells in your head, and if you feel uncomfortable on the phone then hang up immediately.
What should I do if I receive a Covid pass scam text?
If you are in receipt of an email which you suspect might be fraudulent then forward it to [email protected]. Similarly, if you are suspicious about a text message then forward it to 7726 free of charge.
There are other ways to report fraud, too, by contacting Action Fraud as soon as possible by visiting actionfraud.police.uk or calling 0300 123 2040.
If you have information relating to the NHS Covid Pass scam then you are urged to come forward and can do so completely anonymously via Crimestoppers at 0800 587 5030.