Scammers and bogus callers

Scam alert: Calls and messages offering the coronavirus vaccination

We are aware that some people are receiving fraudulent calls and text messages offering the COVID-19 vaccination.

In some cases, people are asked to press a number on their keypad or to send a text message to confirm they wish to receive the vaccine. Doing so is likely to result in a charge being applied to their phone bill. In other cases, callers are offering the vaccine for a fee or asking for bank details.

Please  be alert to these scams. The vaccine is only available from the NHS and the NHS will contact you when it is your turn. At present, appointments are only being offered to members of the public over 80 years old.

The NHS will:

  • Never ask you to press a button on your keypad or send a text asking you to confirm you want the vaccine.
  • Never ask for payment for the vaccine or for your bank details.

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up.

What are scammers and bogus callers?

Scammers and bogus callers attempt to cheat people out of their money. The most common types are:

  • Rogue traders People selling goods or services that are either not delivered or are very poor quality. A common tactic is when they claim to have noticed something about your property that needs work or improvement
  • Fake surveys Some scammers ask to conduct a survey so that they can obtain your personal details, or disguise their intent to eventually sell you something
  • Bogus officials People who pretend to be from a utility company to gain access to your home

Who may be particularly vulnerable?

  • The elderly, who are more trusting and may be less suspicious of cold callers.
  • Those with a physical or learning disability.
  • Those with a long-term illness.
  • Those who regularly leave downstairs windows open or front/back doors unlocked.
  • Those who live in dark, quiet areas.

How do I protect myself?

Many legitimate businesses sell products door to door, and utility companies do sometimes require access to your property. Here are some tips to make sure you feel safe in your home and can spot a scam:

  • If someone knocks at your door, always check their identification closely
  • Never let anyone in to your house unless you trust them
  • Don't agree to any offer involving a significant amount of time or money in the moment. Seek independent advice or legal help first
  • Set up passwords with your utility companies so that you have an extra way to confirm the caller’s identity. Contact your utility company to do this
  • Consider signing up to the Mailing Preference and Telephone Preference Services
  • Consider installing motion sensor lights and a spy hole in the front door
  • Consider putting a 'No cold callers' sign up
  • Before you open the front door, check your back door is shut and locked

Report a scammer or bogus caller

If you are in immediate danger, call the Police on 999.

To report an incident, call 101. This is the Police non-emergency number. You can also report a non-emergency crime online.

Contact Action Fraud and the Citizens Advice and Consumer Service for further assistance.