Messages about NHS Covid passports are the latest scam texts attempting to steal your bank and card details, given the passes are completely free to request on the official NHS app (not to be confused with the NHS Covid app).
Similar to scam texts around a Royal Mail or DPD delivery fee, this message asks recipients to visit a URL resembling that of the NHS website and enter a large amount of details – including card info – in order to pay a sum such as £4.99 for a Covid pass.
The pass, which demonstrates proof of an individual’s vaccination status, enables them to travel abroad and access areas in England which use the service.
Yet in this instance, if you were to go ahead and enter the credentials, you’d be paying a much bigger price, as the scammers will have your card details.
“The linked site is HTTPS, to give that added sheen of ‘this is the real website, because it’s got a padlock’. Hopefully you know that a padlock does not mean you can trust a website, many don’t,”writes the cybersecurity company Malwarebytes in a blog post.
“The scammers ask for a lot of details across multiple pages, beginning with ‘the exact name used when you registered with your GP surgery’. From there, they ask for date of birth, post code, and an address where they can deliver ‘your Covid pass credentials to be registered on our NHS app’. After this, they request ‘a payment of £4.99 to process your Covid Pass application’,”
They also go on to add that the text can be safely ignored if you receive it, and reported for spam, too.
In the UK, spam texts can be reported to your network provider by forwarding it to 7726 – or ‘SPAM’ on a telephone keypad.
Last month, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust issued a warning about the scam, saying the NHS “will never contact you to ask for payment details to obtain the NHS COVID pass”.
“You can view your double vaccination status freely on the NHS app or apply for an NHS COVID pass free of charge online.”