Residents urged to watch out for coronavirus 'test and trace' scam

Posted on Thursday 11 June 2020

Local residents are being warned to be vigilant of scammers looking to exploit the new NHS Test and Trace service.

The Government system, which launched last week, is designed to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) by quickly testing people with symptoms and either phoning, texting or emailing whoever they have had close contact with to tell them to isolate for 14 days.

BCP Council’s Trading Standards team are warning that some people, particularly the vulnerable or elderly, could be susceptible to fake calls or messages from criminals looking to get access to personal information or trick them into handing over money for the free-of-charge service.

Councillor Lewis Allison, Portfolio Holder for Tourism, Leisure and Communities, said: “Unfortunately, even during this difficult time, people committing fraud will find ways to take advantage of vulnerable members of our community.

No one is immune from scams, so we’re encouraging everyone to be vigilant and take steps to protect themselves by knowing what they will and won’t be asked if they are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service.”

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 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 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 see or hear anything suspicious, report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 or via the Citizens Advice website https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/.