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Police are urging members of the public to be aware of a phishing text message scam circulating telling people that they are ‘eligible’ for the Covid 19 vaccination.

The scam message reads ‘we have identified that you are eligible to apply for your vaccine’ and links to a convincing, but fake, NHS page which then asks for bank details. Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said: “We know that fraudsters will stop at nothing to dupe people out of their money and they aim to exploit the pandemic for financial gain.

Photo by eric gross from FreeImages

“I am urging people to remain vigilant,  fraudsters don’t care who their victim is, they know the desire people have to get the vaccine and they see this as a chance to get their hands on their money.

“ Be sceptical and on your guard, If you receive a text or email that asks you to click on a link or for you to provide information, such as your name, credit card or bank details, it's a likely to be a scam.

“Don’t hit the link, if you are dealing with someone about a Covid 19 vaccination and they ask you for money, this is a huge red flag, hang up and stop dealing with them.

“It’s also important that if you have older members of family, talk with them and tell them legitimate providers of this vaccine will never seek their banking information. This is a really important conversation to have.”

Protect yourself by following this advice:

·       Do not open attachments or click on links in emails or texts from numbers you don’t know.
·       Never give out your personal information, banking details or passwords in response to an email, text or phone call without verifying that the caller is who they say they are.
·       Block any numbers you find suspicious.
·       Always go to a website directly, by typing out the address yourself, when logging into an account. Do not click on links.
·       Keep an eye out for spelling mistakes in messages and emails

Anyone concerned they have been a victim of a scam either report the matter to Action Fraud via their websitewww.actionfraud.police.uk or by phoning 0300 123 2040. Police can be contacted on the non-emergency number 101 or you can submit a report online using our non-emergency reporting form via WWW.PSNI.POLICE.UK

For further advice and information visit www.nidirect.gov.uk or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni . ScamwiseNI have recently issued some helpful videos which show how these type of scams can take place and the terrible impacts for the victims .

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