Coronavirus in Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon says ‘despicable’ vaccine scammers a ‘sad reflection of aspects of society these days’

The First Minister has warned Scots to stay vigilant of coronavirus scammers as she warned of criminals charging people to organise bogus vaccine appointments.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily briefing, Nicola Sturgeon said the latest “despicable” fraud was similar to several ones identified last year regarding fake Covid-19 tests.

Ms Sturgeon called it a “sad reflection of aspects of society these days,” and complained that “almost any new service we have provides an opportunity for new scams.”

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She warned that scammers appeared to be sending emails and text messages about organising vaccination appointments, but stressed that NHS Scotland does not contact people by email.

Instead, the health service is using phone calls and letters to arrange dates for eligible people to be vaccinated.

Ms Sturgeon said: “If you receive an email about your vaccination appointment, it will be a fake, so please don't interact with it.

“I want to emphasise the fact that the Covid vaccine is free to everybody in Scotland.

“That means - and let me stress this point - NHS Scotland will never ever ask you to share your bank details, or to pay for vaccination.

The First Minister has warned Scots to stay vigilant of coronavirus scammers as she warned of criminals charging people to organise bogus vaccine appointments. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

“So on no account should you ever share your bank details with someone in order, as they will tell you, to confirm a vaccination appointment.

She added: “NHS Scotland will never turn up on a noticed at your door to arrange a vaccination.”

You can find out more information about current coronavirus scams, and how to protect yourself against them, on the Trading Standards Scotland website here.

You can also call the NHS Scotland vaccine helpline on 0800 030 8013 if you are unsure about a message you have received regarding an appointment.

If you want to report a bogus caller, you can contact the police on 101.

The First Minister urged Scots to remember that “vaccines are free”, insisting that there is “no need to provide financial information to anyone, so nobody who is genuine should be asking you for financial information.

“Hopefully we can ensure collectively, that these despicable scammers are not in any way successful,” she finished.

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