13 Aug 2022

Gardai issue warning over Covid-19 test and vaccine scam

An Garda Síochána at the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) are warning the public of a recent text message scam where persons are receiving text messages purporting to be from Health Service Executive (HSE) and advising the public to book an appointment for a Covid-19 test through a link on the text.

Once the person clicks on the link they will be brought to a cloned website where the fraudsters will seek their personal information, including their PPS number and payment for the Covid-19 test or vaccine.

In most instances, the supplied links look very similar to the authentic HSE URL but may be misspelled.

"Gardaí would like to again remind the public that the HSE will never look for payment for Covid-19 tests or vaccinations and the public should be wary of such text messages.

"There are also other ‘smishing’ texts being received and these can purport to be from service providers, revenue, banks and/or delivery businesses. Some can fit into the threads of previously received genuine texts which adds an air of authenticity to them."

An Garda Síochána's advice to the public is as follows:

- Never click on a link of an unsolicited text, email or respond to cold callers seeking personal information.

- Do not use reply or call the number supplied by these texts.

- Never give away personal data like PIN number, card numbers, passwords, one time codes, PPS numbers 

- The HSE will never text you seeking payment for Covid-19 tests or vaccines

- If you have responded to such a text or paid the scammers, contact your bank immediately for a recall.

- It is also important to report the matter to your local Garda Station.

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