Surrey residents have been warned to take extra precautions when booking their Covid-19 booster vaccinations after vulnerable people were targeted by a related scam in neighbouring Sussex.
Police in Surrey said that they recently received wo reports of scams targeting vulnerable people that attempted to extract money by posing as health authorities organising the booster programme.
In both cases, the victims were urged to communicate bank details in order to book their booster vaccination appointments before reporting the scam to the police.
The first case, Surrey Police said, happened on Tuesday (December 14), when a woman received a text message that appeared to be from the NHS. The message stated that she was now eligible for her Covid booster with a link.
“She filled out the form which included all her personal details such as her address and her banking details, where the form stated there was a £1.99 fee for the booster hence the need for banking details,” police described. “Once the victim submitted the form she received a call from an 0800 number claiming to be her bank and told her there had been some fraudulent use on her bank account and she needed to move money to a new account which they had created for her. The man became aggressive and used abusive language and made threats towards the victim.”
She later contacted the authorities and was linked with Operation Signature, a police initiative which works with those targeted in fraud cases.
The second incident involved a 91-year-old man from Pulborough in Sussex who was emailed by a fake NHS account urging him to enter card details before his booster vaccination.
Bernadette Lawrie, Operation Signature lead for Surrey Police and Sussex Police, described the incidents as “heartless” as she urged people to remain cautious of potential scams such as these.