The Government’s new NHS test and trace service is designed to trace people who might have come in to contact with someone who has coronavirus and help prevent the spread of the disease. Advice has been issued on how to spot fraudsters who may try to use NHS test and trace to steal personal and financial information and perpetrate scams.
If you test positive for coronavirus, the NHS test and trace service will send you a text or email alert or call you with instructions of how to share details of people with whom you have had close, recent contact and places you have visited.
The NHS test and trace service will also contact you if have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. Again, the alert will usually come by text, email or phone call.
Fraudsters may make telephone calls falsely claiming to be NHS test and trace staff or send bogus texts or emails.
Trading Standards has received reports of a scam where criminals are cold calling residents, claiming to be from the ‘COVID-19 testing service’. The recipient of the phone call is told they are required to take a test before being asked for their bank details and charged £500!
If it’s really NHS test and trace calling you it will be from their single number 0300 0135 000, although scammers are known to be able to make their phone calls appear to come from genuine numbers. Scammers can also do this with text messages too and can even make messages appear in a chain of texts alongside previous genuine messages, making them look plausible.
That is why is it very important to understand what NHS contact tracers will ask you to do and what they will never ask you to do.
Contact tracers will:
- call you from 0300 013 5000
- send you text messages from ‘NHS’
- ask you to sign into the NHS test and trace service website: https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk/
- ask for your full name and date of birth to confirm your identity, and postcode to offer support while self-isolating
- ask about the coronavirus symptoms you have been experiencing
- ask you to provide the name, telephone number and/or email address of anyone you have had close contact with in the 2 days prior to your symptoms starting
- ask if anyone you have been in contact with is under 18 or lives outside of England
Contact tracers will never:
- ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to us (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
- ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product or any kind
- ask for any details about your bank account
- ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
- ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
- disclose any of your personal or medical information to your contacts
- provide medical advice on the treatment of any potential coronavirus symptoms
- ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
- ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS
Full details are available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test–and–trace-how-it-works
Warwickshire Trading Standards advises all residents to:
- Be vigilant. Don’t be afraid to delete an email/text or put the phone down if you believe it to be a scam
- Take your time, don’t be rushed in to revealing personal information
- If in doubt, ask or family member or friend for their advice
- Report any type of scam to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133. Citizens Advice can provide telephone support and advice. They will also alert Warwickshire Trading Standards Service who can provide additional advice
- For more advice visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards