Fraudsters are posing as contact tracers to trick people into parting with personal information
Bedfordshire Police is urging members of the public to be vigilant following reports of fraudsters posing as people from the NHS Test and Trace service.
The Test and Trace system is part of the government’s efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus. It uses contact tracers to get in touch with those who have had recent close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
But, a number of fraudsters are using this to their advantage and posing as contact tracers to trick people into parting with their personal information.
The following information has been provided so you know if you are genuinely being contacted by the NHS Test and Trace Contact service:
- If the NHS Test and Trace service contacts you, the service will use text messages, email or phone
- All texts or emails will ask you to sign into the NHS test and trace contact-tracing website
- If NHS Test and Trace calls you by phone, the service will be using a single phone number: 0300 013 5000
Sean O’Neil, from Bedfordshire Police’s Cyber team, said:
“Unfortunately, there have been a number of recent scams where fraudsters are using the coronavirus pandemic to deceive people into parting with money or personal details, and this is another that has come to light.
“We would urge everyone to be vigilant if they are contacted and to never disclose personal or financial details over the phone if you are unsure.
“If you think that someone has tried to contact you under false pretences or you have been the victim of a fraudster, then please report it to Action Fraud.”
All information you provide to the NHS Test and Trace service is held in strict confidence and will only be kept and used in line with the Data Protection Act 2018.
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 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
They will ask you:
- If you have family members or other household members living with you. In line with the medical advice they must remain in self-isolation for the rest of the 14-day period from when your symptoms began
- If you work in – or have recently visited – a setting with other people (for example, a GP surgery, a school or a workplace)
- If you have had any close contact with anyone other than members of your household. We are interested in in the 48 hours before you developed symptoms and the time since you developed symptoms. Close contact means:
- Having face-to-face contact with someone (less than a metre away)
- Spending more than 15 minutes within two metres of someone
- Travelling in a car or other small vehicle with someone (even on a short journey) or close to them on a plane
They will ask you to provide, where possible, the names and contact details (for example, email address, telephone number) for the people you have had close contact with.
As with your own details these will be held in strict confidence and will be kept and used only in line with data protection laws.
You can find out more about the NHS Test and Trace service here.