Clearly the "track and trace" programme is an important part of slowing the spread of the virus and keeping us all safe. However, it is already being exploited by ruthless scammers, frequently using social media.
If people are contacted by genuine contact tracers this will happen by phone or email. The contact tracer will identify themselves and the organisation they work for. If a caller claims to be from NHS Test and Trace and people are suspicious they can verify a call is genuine by hanging up and calling 119 themselves.
NHS Test and Trace said:
"Genuine 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
- 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
- Ask you to purchase a product
- Ask you to download any software to your device or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet
- Ask you to access any website that does not belong to the Government or NHS"
Detective Sergeant Stephanie Goulding, from Cumbria Police, said:
“Unfortunately, criminals will exploit every opportunity they can to defraud innocent people of their money, or steal their personal details.
“This service is extremely important in the fight against coronavirus. However, we understand the concerns people have about the opportunity for criminals to commit scams and we are aware from media reports that some scam texts are already in circulation.
“It’s important to remember that NHS Test and Trace, or the local contact tracing team, will never ask you for financial details, PINs or passwords. They will also never visit your home.”