FRAUDSTERS are attempting to con families out of cash with an elaborate flu jab scam.

Trading Standards has had reports from across Essex of conmen pretending to be a doctor from a nearby surgery.

The “doctor” then tells the families their registered surgery has a shortage of flu jabs and they are offering them instead.

The resident is then told there is a £1.50 fee and to provide their bank details - before the scammers raid their bank account for as much as they can get.

Trading Standards confirmed scam phone calls have been reported across south Essex, while one vulnerable Chelmsford resident had £5,000 taken as a result.

Following the measles outbreak in Southend last week, families fear scammers may be taking advantage of concerns over immunisations.

There have been six confirmed cases so far, with Southend Council tracing people who may have been exposed to the measles virus by coming into contact with any of the suspected cases.

Gemma Hill, 47, of Southend, said: “I saw Essex Trading Standards warning and it immediately worried me, everything has been about vaccines and measles in Southend at the moment, so if you’re elderly, or maybe people who are not hugely educated, you could get confused by it all and before you know you’ve been scammed.

“People want to be careful these days, especially with flu jabs and things like that, to have scammers taking advantage is disgusting.”

Trading Standards insisted doctors will never contact patients directly to state they cannot provide flu jabs and ask for money.

A spokesman for Essex Trading Standards said: “We’ve had reports of residents receiving telephone calls from someone purporting to be a doctor from a local surgery.

“The caller advises that your doctor’s surgery has a shortage of staff and so they have an arrangement with them to offer the flu jab on their behalf - for which there is a fee of £1.50.

“They then ask you to provide your bank details to secure this.

“This is a scam. One elderly lady from Chelmsford had £5,000 taken from her account.

“Please note doctors will not call you to tell you they cannot provide your flu jab and ask for money.

“Do not give your bank details to anyone over the phone.

“Please report any such scam calls to us via 03454 040506.”