Scams and Fraud during Covid-19

Traditional fraud and scams have continued throughout the Covid-19 pandemic but many fraudsters have used the pandemic as a hook to defraud people and make their lies seem more plausible.  There have been various types of scams dentified which include:

  • vaccine or testing scams
  • fake medical supplies or support
  • online shopping scams for sanitiser, face masks, fake testing kits that never arrive
  • fake HMRC branded emails, phone calls and text messages with spurious offers of financial support
  • phishing scams or calls claiming to be from government departments offering grants, tax rebates, or compensation
  • bogus loans, high return investment scams, targeting of pensions
  • computer service fraud (due to high numbers of people working from home)
  • phishing scams or calls claiming to be from government departments offering grants, tax rebates, or compensation

 Any scams or fraud can be reported to Action Fraud online at or by calling 0300 123 204

Cyber Aware from the National Cyber Security Centre has launched a new national reporting service for phishing emails. The Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS for short) is an email address that you can forward suspicious-looking emails to.This will help them to identify scam email accounts, block links to fraudulent websites and ultimately take down even more online scams. If you have received an email which you’re not quite sure about, forward it to SERS: You can find more information about the service at

Advice can also be found in the Little Leaflet of Covid Scams

Covid Vaccination Scams

Action Fraud has received reports from members of the public who have been sent text messages claiming to be from the NHS, offering them the opportunity to sign up for the vaccine. The texts ask the recipient to click on a link which takes them to an online form where they are prompted to input personal and financial details. In some cases the online form has looked very similar to the real NHS website.

In the UK, coronavirus vaccines will only be available via the National Health Services of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or pharmacy local to you, to receive your vaccine. Remember, the vaccine is free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay.

NHS Test and Trace

The NHS test and trace programme is designed to limit the spread of transmission of coronavirus, and works by finding those who have come into contact with someone who has become infected and telling them to isolate via a phone call, email or text message. 

Some people, particularly the vulnerable or elderly, could be susceptible to fake calls or messages from criminals looking to get access to personal information.

Contact tracers will only call you from the number 0300 013 5000. Anyone who does not wish to talk over the phone can request the NHS Test and Trace service to send an email or text instead, inviting them to log into the web-based service.

All text or emails sent by NHS Test and Trace will ask people to sign into the contact tracing website and will provide you with a unique reference number. We would advise people to type the web address directly into their browser, followed by the unique reference number given to you, rather than clicking on any link provided in the message.

Remember, NHS contact tracers will NEVER

  • ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to them (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
  • ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product or any kind
  • ask for any details about your bank account
  • ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
  • ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone  
  • ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
  • ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS
  • Send someone to your home

For more information on the programme, please visit


The Little Leaflet of Covid Scams