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How to verify if a vaccine invite text is genuine

Posted on: 12 March 2021

This week the NHS began texting some people inviting them to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.

Almost 400,000 people aged 55 and over and thousands of unpaid carers will be the first to get a text alert.

Now Trading Standards is reminding the public of a simple checklist to help give reassurance that a text invite for a vaccination appointment is genuine.

The messages will include a web link for those eligible to click and reserve an appointment at a larger vaccination centre or pharmacy, followed by a letter a few days later.

  • Texts will be from ‘NHSvaccine‘ and are separate to any invites people may get from local NHS services such as GP surgeries or hospitals.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine is free of charge – a genuine text will not ask for money or state a cost.
  • The NHS will never ask for bank account or card details, PIN or banking passwords or copies of personal documents to prove identity.

Ben Newell, from Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards, said: “In some cases text messages have been used by scammers to try to collect personal details from people, to get them to ring premium rate numbers or enter their banking details.

“The text message will be sent using the Government’s secure Notify service and will show as being sent from ‘NHSvaccine’. The NHS will never ask for payment or banking details.”

People who think they have been a victim of fraud or identity theft, should report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Find more information on how to check if something’s a scam and what to do if you’ve been scammed on the Citizens Advice website or call their consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.