'Fraudsters are using Covid as an excuse for their criminality', City Police Commissioner warns

27 January 2021, 15:12 | Updated: 27 January 2021, 15:24

By Sam Sholli

Fraudsters are increasingly using Covid to scam the British public, the City of London Police Commissioner has warned LBC.

The warning comes as members of the public have been targeted by fraudulent emails purporting to be from the NHS in relation to Covid vaccines.

The City of London Police is the National Lead Force for fraud and the Commissioner Ian Dyson told LBC: "What we're seeing is that fraudsters are using Covid as sort of an excuse for their criminality.

"They will look for any opportunity," he added.

Commissioner Dyson told LBC that broadly speaking there had been reports of fraud related to Covid with losses totalling around £500,000.

The January period has seen an increase in fraudulence driven by coronavirus, he said.

Giving advice to LBC listeners, the Commissioner said legitimate organisations would not be asking for bank details for any Covid vaccine-related activity.

"Just be really careful if it's an unsolicited email," the Commissioner said.

His warning reiterates the public message to be alert around giving their details away to fake coronavirus vaccine scammers.

The Commissioner revealed a man had been arrested in relation to a Covid vaccine scam where a pensioner was charged money in exchange for a jab.

But, he added they were "thankfully rare."

Earlier this month Action Fraud warned on Twitter: "In the UK, coronavirus vaccines will only be available via the NHS. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a local GP surgery or pharmacy, to receive your vaccine. Vaccinations are free of charge and you will not be asked to pay."

Derbyshire Constabulary also alerted people to a fake text offering a link to an "extremely convincing" false NHS website where people are asked to input their bank details to register for a vaccine.

For advice on fraud and how to report it visit the City of London Police here.