Warning about increase in bogus vaccine scams and testing kits

Citizens Advice warn of Coronavirus scams

Citizens Advice warn of Coronavirus scams - Credit: Archant

Online scams related to the coronavirus pandemic are on the rise, according to Citizens Advice.

The organisation says the types of scams they are seeing are people selling bogus testing kits and coronavirus vaccinations and  messages and emails about Government refunds or fines. 

They have also warned people to watch out for messages from unusual email addresses or phone numbers about coronavirus and are advising people not to click on the links.  

Nick Blencowe, chief Ooficer of Citizens Advice Rural Cambs said: “Unfortunately, we’ve seen an increase in scams since the beginning of the pandemic, so it’s good to be thinking about the steps you can take to help protect friends and family.” 

“Common scams we’re seeing across Citizens Advice are about bogus testing kits, coronavirus vaccinations and Government refunds or fines.  

“You should watch out for messages about coronavirus from unusual email addresses or phone numbers, and shouldn’t click on any links.  

“Be aware that you won’t be asked to pay for coronavirus vaccinations - they are provided for free by the NHS.”  

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Citizens Advice have some general warning signs that people can look out for:  

● If you suspect you’re not dealing with a real company – for example, if there’s no postal address 

● If you’ve been asked to transfer money quickly or to pay in an unusual way – for example, by iTunes vouchers or through a transfer service like MoneyGram or Western Union 

● If you’ve been asked to give away personal information like passwords or PINs 

● If you haven't had written confirmation of what's been agreed .

Citizens Advice said if you think something is a scam you should hang up the phone, close the website, or shut the front door.  

Never feel pressured to make a decision straight away, and don’t give out personal details or money unless you’re certain that they can trust the person.  

If you feel threatened or unsafe you can ring 999. 

For help with online scams, contact a Citizens Advice Scams Action adviser by calling 0808 250 5050 or contact Citizens Advice Rural Cambs on 0808 278 7807.  

For more information about other types of scams, visit the Citizens Advice website