Security officials from the United Kingdom are now warning its citizens to be vigilant on opening links and websites, suggesting COVID-19 vaccine.
If you see an email sent to you, saying that you need to file in a form with bank details on it, make sure to stay away immediately on that site.
New fake COVID-19 vaccine offers
On Tuesday, Jan. 26, BBC reported that UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is now warning all citizens to be careful on looking out for COVID-19 vaccines in the internet.
It turns out, scammers are now focusing their interest in making fake COVID-19 vaccine sign-ups, in order to lure users on giving out their bank details and other personal data.
As reported, the scam email includes a link to ‘register’ for the said vaccine. Other emails even ask users to provide their bank details—either for the purpose of payments or verification.
No matter what it is for, NHS said that these messages were all sent from scammers. The agency insisted that real COVID-19 vaccines do not require its patients for a ‘registration,’ especially not requiring bank details along with it.
NHS also clarifies that the government is not putting any fees or charges in taking the vaccine.
Thousands have already clicked the site
Since the spread of these fake emails were rampant all over internet, it was not surprising that a lot of people had already fell victim in these schemes.
Cyber-security consultant Daniel Card said on BBC that thousands of UK users have already opened the fake COVID-19 vaccine website.
Although, expert thinks that not a lot of people provided their personal data or bank details on the application.
Despite this, NHS and Card still demand for internet users to be more responsible on clicking any websites they see on the internet.
“Vaccines are our way out of this pandemic,” said health secretary Matt Hancock.
“It is vital that we do not let a small number of unscrupulous fraudsters undermine the huge team effort under way across the country to protect millions of people from this terrible disease.”
Not only emails
Interestingly, emails are not just the only medium that fraudsters use to manipulate their victims online.
With the increasing demand of people wanting to be vaccinated, phone text messages were also included as scamming tool.
At the start of January, UK authorities also bust out fraudsters that use text messages for COVID-19 vaccinations.
Just like on the email, text scammers send messages to random people all over the country, and pose as legit government sites.
Scammers will also ask users to click on a suspicious internet link wherein visitors have to input their names, addresses, credit card, etc.
Once in, they now have control on your bank details.
What not to do to get scammed
To protect UK users from being scammed due to these tactics, NHS released a memo on what to do:
- Be suspicious of emails that ask you to check, renew or share your logins or passwords
- Don’t open attachments or click on links in emails without first establishing they are legitimate – for example, were you expecting to receive the email?
- Hover over links (without clicking) to see if the link looks legitimate – in many basic Phishing attempts, the actual link differs from the one you see in the email
- Check the source of the email – do you know the sender? Be wary if not, and try to verify the sender
- If the content of the email tries to persuade you to do something that seems too good to be true, it probably is
- If the email claims to be from an official source, it will likely have graphics and images. Do they look legitimate? An official source will never ask you to share personal details or login credentials
- Check for spelling and grammatical errors in emails – these are often a tell-tale sign of spam
- If in any doubt, contact your ICT team for advice