Beware of Test and Trace scams!

We recently received notification about a Test and Trace scam which has started to do the rounds. A parishioner within this diocese was telephoned by someone claiming to be from ‘Test and Trace / Track and Trace’, who said that the person MUST go for a test before asking for the long number on their debit /credit card. When the parishioner said that the test is supposed to be free, the caller said that it was an ‘administration charge’. When the parishioner expressed reluctance to do this, he was told that police proceedings could follow if he refused. This is a scam – please do not fall for it.

The information from the government regarding Test and Trace is as follows:

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.

If you are asked for any of the above, ask the caller for their identity and location, so that you can report them to the police. They will probably hang up.

Advice from the Consumer’s Association can be found below:

How the real contact tracing process works

If you have coronavirus symptoms you can get tested.

If your test is positive, you’ll be contacted by the NHS England by text, email or phone. (In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the NHS is only contacting people by phone at the moment.)

The NHS England Test and Trace service will only get in touch with you for one of the following two reasons:

  1. You’ve tested positive for the virus
  • If you test positive for the virus, you’ll be contacted within 72 hours of taking the test
  • Genuine texts, calls or emails from the NHS service won’t ask you for any personal details upfront
  • You’ll be given a unique ID number to log in to the NHS England Test and Trace website.
  • The only official web address for the NHS Test and Trace service is https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk/
  • Once you’ve logged in using your ID, you’ll be asked to enter some basic information about yourself including:
    • Your name, date of birth and current address
    • the names of the people you live with
    • places you’ve recently visited
    • names and contact details of people you were in touch with around 48 hours before you developed symptoms
  • NB: If you can’t access the website, you’ll be asked to give these details over the phone.

If you get a call about testing positive for coronavirus, but you haven’t taken a test in the past few days or have never taken a coronavirus test, then the call isn’t real.

  1. You’ve been in contact with someone else who has tested positive for the virus
  • The NHS will also contact you if someone else who has tested positive for the virus has been in close contact with you
  • You’ll be asked to self-isolate for 14 days
  • You’ll be given advice on how to do this, what symptoms you should look out for and what to do if you develop the illness
  • You won’t be asked for any other personal details or payment information in this kind of call or message
  • And, crucially, you won’t be asked to pass on the details of anyone you’ve been in contact with either. This is because unless you have tested positive or developed symptoms, there is no need to notify anyone you’ve been in touch with at this stage. It’s a red flag if you’re asked to hand over this information to a caller or by replying to a message. Check the caller or sender’s details.

The NHS Test and Trace service will only be contacting people by phone, text message or email. Texts will come from ‘NHStracing’ which is a protected sender ID. Calls will come from 0300 013 5000 – however, there’s still a risk of this number being spoofed. Calls from any other numbers, or from a withheld number, should be treated as fake.

How to report a Test and Trace scam

If you’ve received a dodgy message or call, you can report it to Action Fraud (the national fraud reporting centre working with the police). If you can take down any details such as numbers and email addresses, this will also be useful.

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