Covid scam warning

Online and telephone scammers are taking advantage of the current pandemic to defraud people into releasing their bank details.

Thursday, 7th January 2021, 4:26 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th January 2021, 4:37 pm
Heartless scammers are now using the Covid-19 pandemic as a way to trick people into giving away their financial information.

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute has warned that text message scams about Covid vaccinations are being reported, which include links to fake NHS websites that ask for bank details.

Messages were first reported at the end of December on the Western Isles, but similar scams have also been reported in Edinburgh, where forms ask for details from recipients’ bank cards to ‘verify their identity’.

It can only be a matter of time before Borderers are targeted in this way.

Colin Mathieson, spokesperson for Advice Direct Scotland said: “Sadly, this is not the first instance that unscrupulous fraudsters have looked to exploit this public health crisis in an attempt to steal personal information and bank details.

“We have seen this throughout the pandemic, with scams including the sale of fake PPE and targeting of the Test and Protect programme.

“What we are now sadly seeing is criminals targeting the crucial roll-out of the vaccination programme.

“The NHS will not require bank details in relation to vaccinations.

“We urge all Scots to remain scam aware, think very carefully before sharing your personal information, and if you think a message or an email involving NHS initiatives doesn’t look or seem right, then it probably isn’t.”

The Royal Bank of Scotland has also issued an urgent scam alert following the new lockdown.

The original lockdown at the beginning of March saw an increase in scams of 400% according to Action Fraud.

Jason Costain, head of fraud at the bank, said: “You are now more likely to be a victim of fraud in the UK than any other crime.

“During last year’s lockdown criminals took advantage of more people working remotely and online.

“It therefore makes sense to take some simple steps to make yourself and your family more fraud proof.”

More information on how to avoid scams is available from www.rbs.co.uk