UK government criticised by Mullins over vaccine passports
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Many people across the country have been warned to steer clear of scam texts and emails inviting them to apply for COVID-19 vaccine passports.
Britons should watch out for an email or text message claiming a “Coronavirus Digital Passport” proves the holder has been vaccinated against COVID-19 and “allows you to travel safely and freely around the world without having to self-isolate”.
The email contains a link to a website looking like an official NHS platform, which asks users to pay an administration fee.
The platform asks the recipient to provide personal details, which could be used to commit identity fraud.
This comes as the Prime Minister announced this week that travel restrictions may be eased for fully-vaccinated Britons.
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The NHS recently launched a digital vaccine passport that allows holidaymakers to prove their vaccine status when travelling to another country, which can be accessed through the NHS app.
Users have been warned not to trust any text or email and fully-jabbed holidaymakers should obtain their vaccine passports through official NHS channels.
Deepak Dwarakanath, medical director at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, issued a warning.
“For those who have had both of their COVID-19 vaccinations, the NHS Covid Pass is crucial as people begin to look forward to events, holidays and their life after the pandemic.
“It’s a disgrace that people would seek to scam others in this cruel manner by taking advantage of this.
“If you have had both of your vaccinations and need a pass, please obtain it using NHS channels.
“The NHS Covid pass is free to anyone who needs one and will remain free while it is a necessity for travel.”
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute lead officer, Katherine Hart, commented on the matter.
“This is yet another example of unscrupulous fraudsters taking advantage of the pandemic to line their pockets.
“We all hope that the summer brings some enjoyment after what has been a period of unprecedented challenges for everyone, but scammers want to ruin that. It is vital that we not only avoid these scams, but also report them to Action Fraud.
“More data received means that the authorities can build a richer picture and identify the full scale of this serious issue.”
Police in Derbyshire, where thousands of people were targeted, said: “It appears scammers are already trying to use this scheme as part of a bid to trick people out of cash.
“Fake emails on the COVID-19 vaccine passport have also been reported in other parts of the country.
“The NHS vaccine pass is free and you can find details on your eligibility and how to get it through the NHS website.
“Our advice would be to search for the pass yourself rather than clicking links sent to you through text or email.”
Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapp will unveil tomorrow the quarantine-free travel plans for double-vaccinated Britons.
It is expected people who have received the jab will be able to travel restriction-free to both green and amber destinations.
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