Warning over ‘test and trace’ scammers

Scammers have been calling people asking for payment for coronavirus tests Picture: Jamie Harris/PA

Scammers have been calling people asking for payment for coronavirus tests Picture: Jamie Harris/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Fraudsters claiming to be from the NHS test and trace service are calling people asking for payment, it has been warned.

Essex Trading Standards said it has been made aware of a telephone scam where people are told they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, and must purchase a test over the phone.

Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus may receive an email, text or phone call from the test and trace service but they would not be advised to get tested unless they had Covid-19 symptoms.

If they did require a test, they would never be asked to purchase a test or give any bank details, trading standards said.

Chris French, head of Essex Trading Standards, said: “Absolutely no-one officially contacted by the NHS test and trace team would be asked for payment over the phone or to pay for a test.

“We would ask residents to be vigilant if they receive a call such as this, not to give any personal information and report it to us straight away. Please also make sure older or vulnerable family and friends are aware of this scam so they don’t fall prey to it.”

MORE: How many coronavirus patients are currently being treated in Suffolk’s hospitals?Mike Gogarty, director of public health, said: “The NHS test and trace service is a vital element in helping us stop the spread of coronavirus. I am disgusted that scammers are using this crucial service as a way to scam people, potentially putting people’s health at risk.

“People should not be discouraged from giving their contact details as part of test and trace, however I would ask that they remain vigilant when receiving calls, check the telephone number and not give any information such as bank details if asked.”

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NHS test and trace will never:

• Ask for bank details or payments

• Ask for details of any other accounts, such as social media

• Ask you to set up a password or PIN number over the phone

• Ask you to call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087

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