Police and the NHS are urging people to never hand over money or bank details if asked to in exchange for a coronavirus vaccine.

Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria and Lancashire and Cumbria police forces have stressed that all coronavirus vaccines in the country will be administered free of charge under the NHS.

It comes after a rise in fraudulent activity where certain individuals are targeting elderly people to hand over financial details as part of the process of getting their Covid-19 vaccine jab.

Being able to start offering Covid-19 vaccinations to housebound residents helps us to protect more of the most vulnerable members of our local communities," said Jane Scattergood, Covid-19 Vaccination Director for Lancashire and South Cumbria.

"GP teams will be in touch to arrange appointments in advance, so people will always know the date and time when a healthcare professional will visit them to deliver their vaccination at home

"NHS teams visiting your home will always have ID and they will never ask for payment or request your bank details."

As of this week, NHS healthcare professionals are starting to visit housebound patients over the age of 80 years old to deliver the Covid-19 vaccine.

With a small number of people nationally having received suspicious calls and text messages offering the vaccine, the NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria is stressing the following points:

A Lancashire Constabulary spokesperson said: "You will never be asked to pay for a Covid-19 vaccine. If you’re unsure about an email, text or someone calling to your door, call a friend, family member, your GP, Action Fraud or us on 101. Please share this information with your elderly friends and family, who are often targeted in these types of scams."

Detective Sergeant Stephanie Goulding, of Cumbria Police, said: “Criminals will use every opportunity they can to defraud innocent people. They will continue to try to exploit every angle of this health emergency. We echo the advice given here.

"These key points will help protect people against anyone who does seek to take advantage of this situation."

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up.

If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward the email on to [email protected]

Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726, which is free of charge.

If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft you should report this directly to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Where the victim is vulnerable, and particularly if you are worried that someone has or might come to your house, report it to the police online or by calling 101.

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