COVID-19 warning as Britons attacked by vaccine booking scam – ‘too good to be true!’
Dr Hilary warns about ‘scammers’ exploiting Covid vaccine rollout
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COVID-19 vaccinations are now being rolled out to millions of people right across the country, but the programme, unfortunately, gives scammers the chance to target unsuspecting individuals. A new scam involves Britons being offered a chance to say whether they would like the vaccine, but could have devastating consequences. The email in question impersonates an employer, asking recipients to fill out a survey to express interest in receiving the COVID-19 vaccination.
With many employers now beginning to offer their workforce the opportunity to book the vaccine, this could be perceived as legitimate by Britons.
However, instead it is simply an elaborate and potentially very dangerous scam.
The email reads: “As we begin working with the Department of Health to obtain vaccination opportunities for staff, we are asking all employees to take a simple survey to let us know if you are interested in receiving a vaccine when it becomes available to us.
“Please note the is not a commitment to receive the vaccine, rather it is giving us a number of likely participants for planning a clinic location, date and time.
“Managers/Supervisors: Please distribute the fillable hard copy to those who do not have access to email.
“All responses will be confidential. Hard copy surveys may be returned directly to my email, or faxed to HR’s confidential fax.
“Surveys should be completed by 5pm today, if at all possible, but no later than noon tomorrow. Thank you for your participation.”
While appearing to be a genuine request, this is an opportunity for scammers to capitalise on people’s desire for the vaccination.
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The link contained within the email redirects individuals to a phishing credential form, where they may feel comfortable filling out personal details.
However, instead, this will harvest their sensitive information, including Outlook login details.
As such, both a person and their employer could be put at risk by this type of scam, and individuals are being urged to stay alert.
Express.co.uk spoke to Carl Wearn, head of e-crime at Mimecast, who provided further insight on the matter.
He said: “This is another example of cybercriminals adjusting their tactics to fit the current news agenda.
“With the success of the vaccination rollout covered extensively in the media and more vaccines being made available, these criminals understand many people are expecting to be offered one soon.
“Cybercriminals will often modify traditional attack methodologies to exploit current events such as this in an attempt to lure the vulnerable to engage with or click on links in emails, applications, or texts.
“These criminals know people are very keen to get a vaccine and get back to normality, so are very likely to respond to an offer such as this.”
Mr Wearn added that campaigns like this are also more likely to succeed in certain circumstances.
This includes while people are working from home, as they may not be able to ask others whether the correspondence is genuine.
He added: “Employees should not respond to any electronic communication in relation to request for credentials and certainly do not click on any links in any related message.
“If something looks too good to be true, then it normally is. These sort of scams are becoming more and more common, so employees must be prepared.”
Mr Wearn concluded by urging all employees to always check whether emails they receive are legitimate, by contacting senior members of staff.
He also suggested organisations should always ensure they are investing in cybersecurity awareness to help protect staff in their employ.
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