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Text message scams about Covid-19 vaccinations are being reported in Scotland, including links to fake NHS websites that ask for bank details.
Messages were first reported at the end of December on the Western Isles. Similar scams have also been reported in Edinburgh, where forms ask for details from recipients’ bank cards to ‘verify their identity’.
Colin Mathieson, a spokesman for Advice Direct Scotland, which runs Scotland’s national consumer advice service consumeradvice.scot, said: ‘Sadly, this is not the first instance that unscrupulous fraudsters have looked to exploit this public health crisis in an attempt to steal personal information and bank details.
‘We have seen this throughout the pandemic, with scams including the sale of fake PPE and targeting of the Test and Protect programme. What we are now sadly seeing is criminals targeting the crucial roll-out of the vaccination programme. The NHS will not require bank details in relation to vaccinations.
‘We urge all Scots to remain scam aware, think very carefully before sharing your personal information, and if you think a message or an email involving NHS initiatives doesn’t look or seem right, then it probably isn’t.’
Meanwhile, in other developments, a new Covid-19 drug screening and resistance hub will be established in Scotland, based at the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR).
The ground-breaking project, CRUSH (Covid-19 Drug-Screening and Resistance Hub), has received £2.5million from LifeArc to establish a national resource which will initially be dedicated to supporting and accelerating vital Covid-19 antiviral innovation drug translation.
The facility is funded by £2m from medical research charity LifeArc, with additional funding from the Medical Research Council. CVR CRUSH will be delivered by the University of Glasgow in collaboration with partners LifeArc and the University of Dundee Drug Discovery Unit.
Global control of the Covid-19 pandemic is dependent on the availability of effective medical treatments and vaccines. CVR CRUSH will help support the global scientific effort against the disease by providing a fully integrated hub for pre-clinical drug screening and resistance assays for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, as well as providing the same services for other dangerous and deadly viruses in high containment facilities.