It was only later that evening that alarm bells started ringing. But after contacting Santander numerous times over a number of days, and not seeming to get anywhere, a frustrated Rory posted on the MoneySavingExpert Forum. We contacted Santander on his behalf, and 10 days after Rory initially transferred the £25,000, he was refunded in full.
Rory said: “The financial institutions need to urgently to review their protocols and anti-fraud strategy. The existing system is demonstrably not fit for purpose. I’ve also since found out that fraudsters can mimic legitimate telephone numbers. Why is there no technical fix for this?”
A spokesperson for Santander told us: “We have a great deal of sympathy for all victims of scams. Following a review of the specific circumstances of Mr MacPhee’s case, we have refunded the £25,000 he transferred to criminals.”
Thousands of Covid-19 scams have been reported – here’s how to download passes for free
Cyber crime reporting agency Action Fraud has warned of scammers sending imitation text messages and emails and making phone calls pretending to be from the NHS offering fake vaccine certificates for sale. Action Fraud told us that between May and December 2021, it received over 2,000 reports of Covid documentation-related scams, with the numbers reported tending to increase month-on-month.
Yet crucially, the NHS Covid Pass, which demonstrates your Covid-19 status either in a digital or paper format, is available for free in England via the NHS App, the NHS website or by calling 119. The NHS will never ask for payment or any financial details for a Covid Pass. Neither will the NHS issue fines or penalties relating to your NHS COVID Pass. See the official NHS website for more info on how to get your pass.
The Department for Health and Social Care told us it continues to work “closely with law enforcement and partners to tackle online scams, including COVID-19 related fraud”.
Covid passes and vaccination status certificates are also free throughout the rest of the UK. Applications can be made via the respective countries’ websites in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, while residents of Scotland and Northern Ireland also have the option of applying via a free app.