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Beware of test and trace system scam attempts, warn consumer officials

The test and trace system launched last Thursday  Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

The test and trace system launched last Thursday Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

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Fraudsters are likely to use the coronavirus test and trace system as a chance to scam the public, authorities have warned.

Officials urged people to remain vigilant of scam messages following the system’s roll-out.

Under the programme, people will be alerted by the NHS test and trace service if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive – and will be expected to self-isolate for 14 days – even if they are asymptomatic.

But there are concerns scammers may attempt to obtain personal information, or trick people into handing over money.

Suffolk Trading Standards said: “As with any newsworthy development, fraudsters are likely to use this as an opportunity to scam people.”

Contact tracers will call from 0300 013 5000 and send texts from ‘NHS’.

Recipients will be asked their name, date of birth, postcode, and if they are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms.

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Contact tracers will never ask anyone to dial a premium rate number, make any payment or purchase, or ask for details about a bank account, social media identities or login details, password or PIN, or ask to set up passwords or PINs over the phone.

They will not disclose personal or medical information to your contacts, provide medical advice on the treatment of potential symptoms, ask you to download any software or hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else, or ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS.

You can report any suspicious approaches on 0808 223 1133 and find out more about the test and trace service at gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works.

Trading Standards recently reported that a patient registered with a surgery in Bury St Edmunds had received a call from someone claiming to be from the community nursing team and requesting to visit their home to check for Covid-19 ‘safety issues’.

The caller went on to tell the patient they would be at the address within an hour.

A spokesman said the patient had carers in situ round the clock and called back after becoming suspicion, but that the person on the other end simply hung up.

The practice confirmed it had nothing to do with the call, which was made last Thursday.

Suffolk Trading Standards said the matter had been reported to the police.


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