The man was a known fraudster who targets elderly and vulnerable people. Concerns about this scam include not only the fact that an elderly woman has been taken for a ride, but that others may also have fallen victim and now believe themselves to be vaccinated.
The scam was shared on BBC’s Fraud Squad, after a nationwide public appeal had brought the fraudster to justice.
While scams are usually seen as malicious, this tactic in particular impacted a variety of aspects and not just the victims pockets.
Kevin Hansford, specialist prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service, spoke about the case he had investigated on the programme.
Mr Hansford noted: “It was a particularly difficult time as the country was going back into lockdown with a lot of restrictions in place. There was lots of anxiety. Lots of concern about infection, about treatment, about survival rates if you got infected.”
This scam occurred near the start of the Governments’ vaccination rollout, when it was still mainly being targeted at the elderly and vulnerable.
READ MORE: Santander urges customers to ‘be wary’ of heartbreaking scam tactic
Mr Hansford noted it was a “particularly difficult time as the country was going back into lockdown with a lot of restrictions in place. There was lots of anxiety. Lots of concern about infection, about treatment, about survival rates if you got infected.”
To many of these concerns, the new found vaccines appeared to be the answer.
However, Mr Hansford also highlighted that this was more than just a chance for the world to go back to normal.
He said: “The vaccination programme offered an opportunity for fraudsters to take advantage of people basically.
“This prosecution is the first prosecution we had of someone offering to administer a covid vaccination, it was reprehensible.”
An elderly woman had a man knock on her door pretending 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 surgery to say she should be expecting a vaccination soon.
With this in mind, she was not at all thrown at the conman’s claims and let him into her home.
Mr Hansford continued: “She sat down, he rolled up her sleeve and pressed something against the back of her hand. He then said that he wanted some money from her.”
The man asked for £100 and said it would be reimbursed to the woman by the NHS.
The woman went to find the £100, but upon returning to give it to the man he insisted it was actually £40 more.
He then briskly left the premises, with the woman now £140 lighter and realising she had been scammed.
She immediately reported it to the police who fortunately realised she had not actually been injected with anything as the skin on her hand hadn’t been broken.
However, he had pressed something against her that made her believe she was now vaccinated, a great cause for concern for police.
Police managed to find CCTV footage of the man but had no idea who he was or where he lived, until a startling turn of events.
The conman revisited the 92-year-old victim, this time demanding another £100 in return for the fake vaccine.
Mr Hansford shared: “The victim, having realised she had been conned once wasn’t going to fall for it again and sent him on his way and immediately contacted the police again.”
Police shortly caught the conman after a national appeal in the press, which was widely circulated.