The man was a known fraudster who targets the elderly and vulnerable. Concerns about this scam not only include the fact that an elderly woman was taken for a ride, but that others may also have fallen victim to it and now believe they are vaccinated.
The scam was shared on the BBC Fraud Squad, after a nationwide public appeal brought the fraudster to justice.
While scams are generally considered malicious, this particular tactic has impacted a variety of aspects and not just the pockets of the victims.
Kevin Hansford, a specialist prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service, spoke about the case he investigated on the show.
Mr Hansford noted: “It was a particularly difficult time as the country returned to lockdown with many restrictions in place. There was a lot of anxiety. A lot of worry about the infection, the treatment, the survival rate if you were infected.”
This scam happened near the start of the rollout of vaccination by governments, when it still mainly targeted the elderly and vulnerable.
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Mr Hansford noted that it was “a particularly difficult time as the country returned to isolation with many restrictions in place. There was a lot of anxiety. Lots of worry about infection, treatment, survival rates if you get infected.
To many of these concerns, newly found vaccines seemed to be the answer.
However, Mr Hansford also stressed that this was more than just a chance for the world to get back to normal.
He said: “The vaccination program has given fraudsters the opportunity to essentially take advantage of people.
“This lawsuit is the first lawsuit we’ve had against someone offering to administer a covid vaccine, it was wrong.”
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An elderly woman had a man knocking on her door claiming to be an NHS worker offering her a Covid vaccine, out of the blue.
Shortly before this, the woman had been legitimately contacted by her doctor’s office to say that she should expect a vaccination soon.
With that in mind, she was not at all rebuffed by the scammer’s claims and let him into her home.
Mr Hansford continued: ‘She sat down, he rolled up his sleeve and pressed something against the back of his hand. He then said he wanted money from her.
The man asked for £100 and said it would be reimbursed to the woman by the NHS.
The woman went for the £100, but on returning to give it to the man he insisted it was actually £40 more.
He then quickly left the scene, with the woman now £140 lighter and realizing she had been scammed.
She immediately reported it to the police, who luckily realized that she had not received any injections as the skin on her hand had not been damaged.
However, he had pressed something against her that made him believe she was now vaccinated, a major source of concern for the police.
Police managed to find CCTV footage of the man but had no idea who he was or where he lived, until a surprising turn of events.
The scammer revisited the 92-year-old victim, this time demanding an extra £100 in return for the fake shot.
Mr Hansford shared: ‘The victim, having realized he had been scammed once, was not going to fall for the trap again and dismissed him and immediately contacted the police again.’
Police quickly nabbed the scammer after a nationwide press appeal, which was widely publicized.