Coronavirus (COVID-19): Scams and staying safe


  1. Vaccine fraud
  2. Avoiding scams
  3. Report a scam
  4. Helping people safely
  5. Price inflations
  6. Loan sharks

Vaccine fraud

The vaccine is free, and only available on the NHS.

The NHS will:

  • NEVER ask for payment - the vaccine is free
  • NEVER ask for your bank details
  • NEVER arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine
  • NEVER ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport

Beware of the following scams:

Text messages - People are asked to press a number on their keypad or to send a text message to confirm they wish to receive the vaccine, doing so is likely to result in a
charge being applied to their phone bill and fraudsters collecting personal information to use again.

Phone calls - Victims receive a phone call from a fake caller offering the vaccine for a fee or asking for bank details.

Websites - Fake URL links to convincing-looking NHS vaccine booking forms, these look like official NHS forms and may contain some personal information already, at the end of the form it asks for their bank details.

In person - Fraudsters are calling unannounced at the homes of victims by pretending to be from the NHS to administer the vaccine there and then, in exchange for a cash payment.

Avoiding scams

  • Only accept help and support from people you know or from trusted services
  • Do not pledge money to support the coronavirus cause unless you know it is going to a trusted charity
  • There will be lots of rumours and misinformation online. Only pay attention to information from trusted sources such as the council, schools, GOV.UK or NHS websites
  • If someone comes to your door offering to test you for coronavirus - even if they show what appears to be medical ID - do not admit them, then contact the police
  • Do not place signs in your window saying you are self-isolating as this may attract people who are looking to prey on vulnerable people

Trading Standards is warning people to remain vigilant following a rise in coronavirus-related scams that seek to benefit from the public's concern and uncertainty over COVID-19. Visit National Trading Standards: Beware of COVID-19 scams.

Action Fraud are regularly updating their website with any new coronavirus related scams that are happening. Get the latest information about coronavirus related scams at Action fraud: COVID-19.

Report a scam

If someone has been targeted by a scam it can be reported to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Helping people safely

We know people want to help others during this difficult time, and you can. But please help safely and make sure you fulfil all the necessary conditions which can be found at GOV.UK: Coronavirus volunteering.

Find out more about volunteering in South Tyneside.

For information about the NHS Volunteer Responder team, visit GoodSAM: NHS Volunteer Responders.

Price inflations

South Tyneside Council's Trading Standards service has investigated allegations that as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, a small number of businesses are selling goods, including such necessities as food and toiletries, at higher than usual prices. Read more about Covid-19 price inflations.

Loan sharks

Loan sharks are money lenders who operate outside of the law. Read more about loan sharks