People in the UK should be wary of fraudulent messages offering them access to coronavirus vaccinations, trading standards authorities have warned.

People are reporting to have received a text message claiming to be from the NHS.

It reads: “We have identified that you are eligible to apply for your vaccine. For mor information and to apply, follow here.”

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) said that text messages had been sent out including links to fake NHS websites that asked recipients for bank details, supposedly for verification purposes.

Such messages were first reported at the end of December on the Western Isles of Scotland, but the CTSI says they are “by no means limited to the region”.

Katherine Hart, lead officer at CTSI, said: “The vaccine brings great hope for an end to the pandemic and lockdowns, but some only wish to create even further misery by defrauding others.

“The NHS will never ask you for banking details, passwords, or pin numbers and these should serve as instant red flags.”

How to spot scams and what to do if you see one

Trading Standards South West the warning signs to look out for.

  • A cold call – someone contacts you about something that you didn’t request or expect.
  • Fantastic offer – the offer sounds very attractive yet too good to be true.
  • A sense of urgency – you’re told that the offer is only available for a limited time or that you must act quickly.
  • Odd language – the wording in the email or letter doesn’t sound right, or it has bad spelling and grammar.
  • Secrecy – you’re told not to tell anyone.
  • Upfront payment request – you’re asked to pay money upfront or send a fee without an agreed contract.
  • Information request – you’re asked to give personal information or banking details.

Further advice can be found on the Trading Standards South West website.