We’ve been made aware of new fake text messages relating to Covid Passes – this example tells the recipient that theirs is ‘ready to be processed by our team’.
As with other examples we’ve seen, the message attempts to get you to click through on a suspicious link that’s posing as the NHS via a sub domain.
Fortunately this site now appears to have been removed by the host, however it’s an opportunity to remind everyone to be aware of these fake text messages and the tactics they employ. Our advice for spotting and avoiding them can be found below.
Vaccine passes are completely free. You can download a digital version using the NHS app, or ask for a physical copy to be posted to you.
But fraudsters have been sending out fake NHS branded emails, falsely inviting people to apply – and pay – for a pass. We’ve also seen fake text messages along the same lines. These texts can be especially convincing as the NHS does contact patients using text messages.
Here’s one of the phishing emails we’ve seen:
And here’s a text message that links to a copycat NHS site that aims to steal victims’ personal and banking details:
⚠ SCAM ALERT | Watch out for this NHS COVID vaccine passport scam that's been doing the rounds.— Which? (@WhichUK)
It looks like it's linking to a genuine URL, but in reality, it's a slick phishing website designed to steal your personal and financial details.
We know that scammers used similar tactics when the vaccine became available.
Rianne Endeley-Brown from the NHS Counter Fraud Authority (NHSCFA), which works to fight and prevent fraud affecting the NHS, told us:
Criminals are using the Covid-19 vaccines as a way to target the public by tricking them to handover cash or financial details. They are sending convincing-looking text messages letting peopleknow they are eligible for the vaccine or phoning people directly pretending to be from the NHS, orlocal pharmacy.
If you believe you are the victim of a fraud relating to the COVID-19 vaccine, please do not reportthis to the NHSCFA. Please report it to , forward any suspicious emails email@example.com, and forward suspicious texts to 7726.
The best way to avoid text message scams is to never follow the links in texts that claim to be from organisations or companies.
If you get a text purporting to be from the NHS that you’re not sure about, check the details with your GP surgery or NHS service.
Fake texts (smishing) can be forwarded to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keyboard).