First spotted in July, the scam consists of fake emails, texts and phone calls that invite people to apply for a Covid-19 Pass, which is used to prove a person’s vaccination status and is needed for international travel.
The emails and texts appear convincing but are not real. Instead of explaining how a person can get their Covid-19 Pass for free, they contain a link to a website that asks for personal details and payment to cover an administrative fee. Similar methods are used in phone calls, pretending to be from the NHS.
Covid-19 Passes are completely free of charge and the NHS will never ask for payment or bank details.
Through the NHS App, Covid-19 Passes are available to anyone over the age of 16 once fully vaccinated. For under 18s this is currently one dose, for over 18s full vaccination is classed as 2 doses. Passes are also available if a person has recorded a negative PCR test within the last 48 hours, or for up to 6 months after a positive PCR test. Passes can be requested online at NHS COVID Pass by calling NHS 119.
Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “Criminals are using Covid-19 as a way of making money out of unsuspecting people, conning them for payments that are unnecessary, so it is important that people are warned about this, and are alert to it.
“The NHS App and the Covid-19 Pass are completely free to use and you will never be asked to give out your financial details or make a payment to access them. If you are, it is a scam.
“So, if you receive one of these emails, texts or calls, the best thing to do is to report it straight away. Fake Covid-19 Pass certificates are also being sold online and on social media and these are not real either.”
Anyone who receives a suspicious Covid-19 Pass email should report it by forwarding it on to firstname.lastname@example.org. Calls can also be reported through this email. Texts can be reported by forwarding to 7726, which is free of charge.