Crime Prevention Advice
Published: 23 June 2020
Be aware of a growing trend of criminals taking advantage of the current Covid-19 crisis to defraud innocent people, including the new NHS Test and Trace service.
The NHS Test and Trace service has been introduced to allow the NHS to trace the spread of the virus, isolate new infections and give early warning if the virus is increasing again.
However, its feared scammers are now making phone calls, sending texts and emails pretending to be from NHS Test and Trace in order to obtain your personal details.
Advice on how to identify a genuine contact tracer from a scammer.
Genuine NHS 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 contact-tracing website
- 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 two 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 them (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
-ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product of 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
If you or somebody you know has been caught out by a scam or fraud contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit the Action Fraud website. If you need advice on anything else, please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline 0344 411 1444
Example of how they do it One resident has shared a warning claiming that her friend received a scam call earlier this week 03/06/20
The caller, claiming to be an NHS employee, stated that the individual had come into close contact with a person with COVID-19 and had to self-isolate for seven days.
The individual was then coerced into giving their address in order to receive a test kit and was asked for their payment details in order to pay a "one off fee" of £500. The so-called scammer then said that there would be penalties for not complying.
It was at this point that the individual then put the phone down and realised that they were being targeted by scammers.
You will only ever be called from the number 0300 013 5000, or you will be texted from “NHS”.