The charity, Age Scotland, has warned older people to be on their guard against scams, saying these are heartless attempts to trick people into paying for vaccinations.

Often this is masqueraded as a text with a link to what may appear to be an NHS website but it is fake. This will ask visitors to add their financial details in order to register for a vaccine. This is also something offered by cold callers on the phone or rather worryingly on the doorstep, and older people are thought to be at more risk from such scams.

Brian Sloan, Age Scotland’s Chief Executive, said:“It’s wholly unacceptable for anyone to attempt to use the promise of COVID-19 vaccinations to exploit people and get them to divulge sensitive information with the aim of defrauding them.

“Unfortunately, scams of this nature have been rife throughout the pandemic and we know there will always be heartless scammers out there looking to prey on the most vulnerable members of our communities.

“No matter our age or our health, almost any of us can be taken in. But sadly, older people can be more affected, with criminals targeting them because of their perceived vulnerability.

“These attempts seem particularly cruel considering how many older people will be eagerly awaiting information about when they can expect to receive their vaccination. We hope to see maximum uptake once contact is made, but it’s vital to make sure an offer of a vaccine is genuine.

“We would urge everyone to be aware of official advice on the vaccination programme and warn any older relatives to be extremely wary of scams. Wait until your GP gets in touch and remember that genuine vaccination invitations will never ask for payment, or involve unsolicited texts or emails that ask for confidential details.”