Experts warn people in Newham to beware Covid-19 vaccine scams
- Credit: PA
The public is being warned to beware Covid-19 vaccine scams.
Experts in Newham are asking people to be on the alert for scammers luring them in with the offer of jabs and asking for personal details.
Some swindlers use the NHS logo to make their cons look more convincing. They may ask for your name, address, date of birth and bank details, but are really after money.
The vaccine is free and only being rolled out by the NHS, which would not ask people for bank details.
Sheila Roberts, assistant director for licensing and regulatory services in Newham, said: "We don't want people to be put off being vaccinated and we don't want people to be taken advantage of.
"There might be people who feel they can jump the queue by paying. But you can't bypass the system.
"Please don't give your bank details to people you don't know. They can use that information for unscrupulous things.
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"We want everybody that qualifies [for a jab] to get this done, but correctly."
Currently, people who are eligible for the jab must wait until invited by their GP surgery to make an appointment.
Claire Greszcuk, a consultant in public health at the town hall, said the only people offered the vaccine at the moment are priority groups including NHS staff, health workers, care home residents and some pensioners in the community who are aged over 80.
"Not all of them are being offered it at this moment in time. It's not that we've invited everyone in those groups at once. There's a phased roll out," Claire said.
She stressed people need to be registered with a GP surgery to get an invitation for a vaccination.
The jabs are expected to roll out to further groups of the population, according to government guidelines, as the year goes on.
George McDougal, a trading standards officer at Newham Council, said the service hasn't received reports of fake vaccines being offered for sale yet, but it is happening in other countries.
He added scammers are using every method to con people, including phone, mail, text and email.
"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It's best to work through the NHS," he said.
Anyone worried can call Trading Standards via 020 8478 2000. Action Fraud can be contacted on 0300 123 2040.
Or call Newham's helpline on 020 7473 9711. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org