Picture for representation
Picture for representation

Amid the government's plan to roll-out COVID-19 vaccine in India, fraudsters have found just another way to scam people by fraudulently enrolling them for vaccination.

According to several reports, fraudsters have been calling people and seeking bank account details or direct cash transfer for COVID-19 vaccine registration.

Modus operandi

"They ask for Aadhar, email id etc. Subsequently to authenticate Aadhar, they ask for OTP. The moment OTP is given, money is siphoned off from Aadhar linked Bank account. Please be aware and sensitise," the advisory warning citizens said.

According to an NDTV report, people in Bhopal have been getting calls asking them to pay Rs 500 to get their family registered for vaccination in the first phase.

Another way to scam people is by email. Fraudsters also ask people personal details via email that claims to be a registration form for vaccination.

Authorities warn

Union Ministry of Home Affairs' cyber helpline warned against vaccine scam in a tweet.

"Due to apprehension associated with COVID-19, Cyber criminals are playing various tricks. They may offer to “pay and register” in getting priority to receive first CORONA VACCINE, through malicious link, mail, message or phone call. Be aware otherwise you may get defrauded," it said.

Maharashtra's Thane police also warned against such frauds.

"Thane Police - Fraudsters are calling and asking for COVID-19 vaccine registration. They ask for Aadhar, email id etc. Subsequently to authenticate Aadhar, they ask for OTP. The moment OTP is given, money is siphoned off from Aadhar linked Bank account. Please be aware and sensitise," it said.

In a similar warning, the Madhya Pradesh cyber cell issued an alert.

"Cyber fraudsters have found a new way to get bank account details, we have advised people not to share any OTP or other bank details and not to click on any link that promises a coronavirus vaccine shot. Online fraudsters are also sending phishing mails and links over email, text messages and social media," Cyber Cell SP Dr Gurkaran Singh was quoted as saying by NDTV.

COVID-19 vaccine registration

The exercise to conduct a dry run of the distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine over a two-day period was conducted by four states - Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, and Gujarat - on December 28-29.

The central government has launched the CoWIN portal for monitoring the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines. All beneficiaries have to be compulsorily pre-registered on the CoWIN portal, and photo IDs will be required for the same. The government will first vaccinate frontline healthcare workers and old-age people with co-morbidities re likely to be next.

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