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Fraud During the Pandemic

Volume 691: debated on Monday 22 March 2021

The Home Office has been working with policing, public and private sector partners to track and mitigate the risk of fraud during the pandemic. The National Cyber Security Centre has taken down tens of thousands of online scams and is giving the public the advice that they need to spot scams and avoid falling victim to them.

Recent months have seen an increasing number of scams related to the coronavirus vaccine. As rumours swirl in the press about a delay to the vaccine in the UK, it is even more important that the Government take urgent action to stop fraudulent opportunists from exploiting the vulnerable. With one scam charging for a fake vaccine on the doorstep, will the Minister detail what steps the Government can take, in addition to what he has already mentioned, to tackle this dangerous fraud?

I can well understand the hon. Lady’s frustration and fear about this issue. For people to be duped by others offering fake vaccines is a disgraceful type of crime, particularly as we face this awful pandemic together. We are working closely with partners across health and law enforcement to make sure that we catch up with these villains as quickly as we possibly can. I have been reassured by the fact that the number of vaccine-related frauds that have been reported is, pleasingly, still quite low, but we continue to monitor the situation carefully. I urge people who come across this kind of instance to report it, please, to the City of London’s Action Fraud as soon as they can.