People are being warned to keep an eye out for fake emails from the NHS about coronavirus vaccines.

This week Action Fraud, the UK's national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, released examples of what the messages could look like as the organisation urged people to be wary of similar scams.

The examples (below) had the signature blue NHS banner as a header and asked recipients to "book an appointment using the NHS e-referral service".

The Argus: The scam emails Credit: Action FraudThe scam emails Credit: Action Fraud

An Action Fraud said: "If you receive an email, text message or phone call purporting to be from the NHS and you are asked to provide financial details, or pay for the vaccine, this is a scam."

Scams of this nature have become more common since the mass rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine began at the start of this year.

Action Fraud is attempting to raise awareness of this activity to protect those who might be targeted.

In late January, the organisation received more than 1,000 reports in 24 hours about a similar phishing email which appeared to have been sent by the NHS.

It asked the recipient to click on a link to accept or decline an invitation to receive the coronavirus vaccine. If they clicked accept, they were asked to input personal information and their bank card details.

Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud, said: "It’s despicable that fraudsters will take advantage of such an important tool in the fight against this evil and deadly disease.

"Not only are the people being targeted with this email at risk of losing money, or having their identity stolen, but they are also at risk of not receiving the real vaccine.

"The public have been fantastic at reporting these scams to us and raising awareness in their local community as well.

"But, unfortunately, as this latest phishing campaign shows, we still have to remain cautious and alert.

"Remember: anything purporting to be from the NHS asking you to pay for the vaccine, or provide your bank account or card details, is a scam."

Action Fraud advised that, in the UK, coronavirus vaccines will only be available via the National Health Services of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

It issued a reminder that the vaccine is free of charge and the NHS will never:

  • ask for your bank account or card details
  • ask for your PIN or banking password
  • arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine
  • ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.

Anyone who receives a call they believe to be fraudulent is urged to hang up. Suspicious emails can be forwarded to and suspicious text messaged should be forwarded to the number 7726, which is free of charge.

Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a fraud is asked to report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting