"There are many people who have received fraudulent calls, text messages and emails offering them the COVID-19 vaccination, you might even have seen it in the news recently.
Unfortunately being vulnerable I fell into the trap and became a victim of cybercrime.
I had received an email that that appeared to be sent from NHS offering me an invitation to have the COVID-19 vaccination, to which I had to ‘accept’ or ‘decline’.
At first I was absolutely thrilled and filled with false hope. Though fortunately my health is stable, having a solitary kidney and CKD 3 (which puts me in category level 6 on the Government vaccination priority group), I thought to myself ‘I really am one of the lucky ones today!’
Without even picking up clues this was fake, I clicked on ‘NHS –ACCEPT INVITATION >>’ without even hesitating.
The link then took me directly to what appeared to be the NHS website, asking me to confirm my invitation by entering my details such as full name, DOB, address (including postcode), all which I thought was fairly common to ask.
I was then asked to ‘complete your application’ by entering my debit/credit card information. Being completely blind sighted, I had promptly entered all the information required in able too, (what I had thought) receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
I was then taken to the fake ‘Confirmation’ page where it said ‘you will contacted on your provided number for update about when to visit us’
This is when I started to read between the lines and realised it was all a scam.
There are some of the ways you can detect a phishing email
- The NHS will never ask for bank details - the COVID-19 vaccination is free
- The email address was not from NHS - always look at the email address, not just the sender
- The domain name was not from NHS (and not something I had not recognised)
- The email was poorly written - there is poor spelling and grammar involved. There is off spacing with the format is the fake site and the NHS logo does not look real
It was not too late however to quickly take action.
Here is what you should so if it happens to you:
- If you have entered any bank details, contact your bank and block your card immediately – freeze your card and request a new card and pin
- Report the crime to National Cyber Security or Action Fraud
- If you have been contacted via your work account contact your IG officer and raise as a cybercrime attack within your company
- Tell someone – a colleague, friend, family for support
My advice is to not take quick action, be VIGILANT when receiving emails/ text messages similar to this. Try to detect if it is a phishing email or real. When it doubt, ask someone for advice.
And remember you are not alone, unfortunately scammers target vulnerable people. I just hope it doesn’t happen to you."
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