Criminals have been busy creating several new scams following the latest lockdown announcement. There are two new ones that have come to light this week:
- “HMRC” suggesting that you are due a rebate or COVID-19 grant
- “NHS” suggesting that you are eligible to apply for the COVID-19 vaccine
Text messages are being sent allegedly from HMRC suggesting that you can receive a government payment, two examples are:
“From HMRC: The third lockdown has been announced, we have been issued a grant off £240 to help during this period, visit XXX to claim:”
“You are eligible for a £202.62 tax refund due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Please visit XXX to claim your rebate.”
There are lots of different versions of these texts and they often have slight grammar or spelling errors too, e.g. grant off £240. It is very easy to see how freelancers and self-employed people might fall for these as they have previously received government grants when eligible.
The website the texts refer you to will usually look very much like a government website, for example:
If you look at the website address, if it is a scam then it won’t be hosted on the gov.uk domain. Furthermore, HMRC will never offer a tax refund by text, email or phone. You should check your personal tax account with HMRC directly if you think you might be due a refund.
In the “NHS” scams, texts are received informing you “we have identified that your are eligible to apply for your vaccine” and you are then invited to apply for a vaccine by clicking on a link. The link takes you to a very convincing looking website, something like:
The website requests personal details including “card payment details” to prove ownership of address. But anyone supplying payment details is likely to have their account raided by the scammers.
Neither the NHS nor any official vaccine body will ever request payment details. Please beware of these scams and do not fall for anything unsolicited that is asking for any financial account details.