Scammers have entered the COVID19 vaccination scene. In fact, they have been at their tricks since the beginning of the year. Alarm bells have been ringing, particularly since there are thousands of recipients involved. Only a couple would fall for fake text messages, hook, line, and sinker. However, various official, professional, semi-professional and even voluntary organizations have been trying to reach out to the public. Scammers do not deserve an iota of your time. Learn to decipher the tell-tale signs and consign coronavirus vaccine scams message and such nefarious devices to the rubbish bin.
Preserving British Rollout supremacy
At the risk of sounding jingoistic, we would just like to stress that we are within our rights when we protect ourselves from scammers whose antics might, if ever so slightly, tarnish Britain’s excellent performance in Coronavirus vaccine administration.
The UK’s performance as regards vaccine coverage has been counted as a world topping. As of Jul 2021, at least 18 million UK residents have gotten a first vaccine dose. More than 600,000-second doses have been administered, too. Called a rare pandemic success, the vaccine rollout has been an unmitigated triumph.
Going by evidence-based calculations, owing to a secured supply rate, the rollout was not only timely earlier in the day, but the whole of the UK adult population will have been fully vaccinated with two doses by the end of September 2021.
There was the early investment and ingenious procurement, and that helped secure the supply chain. Finally, however, the NHS’s superlative distribution network, backed by a varied, localised delivery system, clinched the matter.
If the vaccination rollout has been an unmitigated success, why do some of us heed Coronavirus vaccine scams?
The vulnerable at risk
As is the case with other scam types, it is generally vulnerable who are most susceptible to coronavirus vaccine scams. Some sensitive buttons are pushed, be the manipulative messages, texts, or sent via emails. Even house calls are directed specifically at folk tending to living an age-induced restricted life. By understanding the nature of the coronavirus vaccine scams, we would be able to counter these better.
The first thing to remember is that these are stressful times, and not incorrectly, Coronavirus vaccine scams surmise the targeted would be the weakest. If we are relatively young, even then, we have little excuse to let our panic response buttons be so manipulated. The pandemic has so addled our brains that we respond most by emotion rather than reason. Therefore, rational sensibilities are easily overridden. The weakest, most vulnerable and susceptible among us – flash pat red flags without considering the dangers of hasty decision making.
The mark of the Beast? Coronavirus vaccine scams
When we let ourselves be dragged along by feelings, we are apt to fall prey to the simplest devices. The number and kinds of the typical coronavirus vaccine scams are all simple and straightforward. We have had prior experience of this kind of nuisance before.
The coronavirus vaccine scams are merely scammers angling for our financial details. In their mad hope to land some big fish, they scour the masses, sending thousands of emails. They make fraudulent calls and even impersonate NHS staff.
The NHS has sent us warnings to the effect that: the NHS will
Never demand payment – the Coronavirus COVID 19 vaccine being free; never ask for bank details; never make house calls without prior calls; never ask for copies of your identity documents.
The Beast in person? How Coronavirus vaccine scams work
The scammers will try to get thru to you via any one or several combined methods like these – text messages, phone calls, websites; in person.
- Text messages – you may be asked to press a number on your keypad. You may also be asked to send a text message confirming that you do wish to take the jab. A charge thus being applied to your phone, the scammers can garner more info about you;
- Phone calls – you may receive phone calls offering the vaccine for a fee or asking for bank details ;
- Websites – you may receive emails carrying fake URL links to legit-looking NHS vaccine booking forms. The scammers’ queries are satisfied only by you providing your bank details at the form’s end;
- In-person – scammers may turn up in person at your home, unannounced, ready to administer the jab there and then, in return for a cash payment.
What held true for a large number of scams in the past holds true for the Coronavirus vaccine scams. The same general guidelines apply.
It’s quite okay to challenge something so official-looking. However, even if the message/email , or even call does not ‘feel’ right, you are well within your rights to refuse/ignore such requests.Only gov. uk will ensure that it’s okay.
- Desist from responding to text messages that try to get you to remit the money, or bank details/passwords.
- Always use only official government websites . “Contact us’ websites sections will help you access info and service.
- Challenge unannounced house callers. NHS calls can be pre-arranged between you and carers/NHS. So house calls will never be of the ‘unannounced’ variety.
Support and guidance: official authorities
- The Cabinet Office formed COVID 19 Fraud Response Team to help the government with its counter-fraud solution. Assistance requests ought to be emailed to [email protected]
- National Cyber Security Centre
Hang up as soon as you get a cal you think in all likelihood, is a scam. Forward suspicious emails to [email protected] should forward suspicious text messages to 7726. The number is free of charge.
- Action fraud
You can also directly report identity theft or identity fraud by contacting Action Fraud at action fraud.police.uk, or thru phone – 0300 123 2040.
For the privilege of 100% anonymity, you can help stop crime by contacting Crimestoppers COVID Fraud Hotline online, at covidfraudhotline.org, or call 0800 587 5030.
Looking out for the Beast
There are two approaches to problem-solving on a day to day basis. There’s the intuitive approach, and there’s the analytical ap[proach. The first approach is based in emotion, while the second is based in reason. However, scammers know that at particular times we may be more than willing to sidestep rational thinking and permit intuition and emotion to guide us. For example, coronavirus vaccine scams push the ‘scarcity principle’ buttons in us. Those who are edgy just then, or by nature, would respond quickly and erroneously.
When we have started to feel that there’s something to the urgency exhibited by the caller/sender, we have already succumbed. Then we are hustled and bundled into a deal that will do us no good.
Just like the jumpiness that characterises tax refunds, when it would not be incorrect to assume there are people eagerly looking forward to their tax refund amounts, there’s a sense of nerves defining the approach some have to the vaccination rollout. Somehow these people are sure they will miss out on their jab, and there will be problems scheduling for a further jab. Ill-informed or not, such nervous customers to make the tough cookie-cut when it comes to letting the scammers call their bluff.
Perhaps the government ought to do a better job of making vaccine availability a totally believable possibility. If some people look at the supply chain with scepticism, they would be liable to call in soothsayers and witch-doctors. 666 is the number of the Beast. That’s the COVID 19 vaccine scammer come house calling. You can hear him speak his artful lies on the phone, you can read his email with its fraudulent link. His text message has a false link, too. But this Beast can be frustrated, and quite easily too.
Frustrating identity theft: CIFAS
Identity theft can be nearly as devastating as financial details getting stolen. So get at least one security aspect covered. Secure your identity against data theft by joining CIFAS.
CIFAS: one more bulwark against identity theft
The UK’s Fraud prevention service, CIFAS, runs the largest database of fraudulent cases in the Isles. CIFAS is fortunate to have a real cross-sector level of cooperation,enabling all members to have a good working idea of the general attributes of any new scams infecting the body politic. Even as smooth operators come up close to daily with new-fangled notions of scamming, CIFAS remains committed to reaching out to as many of the citizenry as possible.
Highly recommended: preventive registration with CIFAS
We cannot emphasise this enough! A guarantee against impersonation by third-party actors, preventive registration would register your details onto the CIFAS database, thereby informing CIFAS members that you feel your identity might be at risk. Furthermore, if any member receives an application bearing your name, it will be checked against CIFAS documentation. Thus, fraudulent applications would be best intercepted through CIFAS.
Coronavirus vaccine scams only exist because, somehow, a part of the population is still unconvinced about the failsafe nature of the rollout or the local delivery system. Or they might have an old complaint against perceived NHS tardiness. Be that as it may, these scams are little removed from what had gone before. Self-preservation against panic is easier now, with several authorities having our back. Simply calling Fast Action Fraud would be helpful.