Residents in Bath and North East Somerset are being warned to be on their guard against scammers pretending to be from the government’s Test and Trace Service.
The Test and Trace Service has been set up to alert people who have been in contact with someone who has coronavirus symptoms.
Since the service was launched last week, Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Trading Standards Officers have received a number of complaints about scammers trying to exploit the system and con people out of money via bogus text messages, emails or calls.
Residents are being reminded that the genuine Test and Trace Service will never:
- ask for bank account details
- ask for any passwords or PIN numbers or ask you to set up any passwords or PIN numbers
- ask for a payment
- ask you to purchase a product
- ask for social media identities or login details
- ask you to download any software onto your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
- ask you to call a premium rate number to speak to the NHS (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
- 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 access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS
If residents are asked these types of questions they should report the incident to Action Fraud by visiting: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime
Rob Appleyard, cabinet member for Adult Services, said: “Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous people who are trying to take advantage of the COVID-19 situation. Residents need to be on their guard. You may be contacted by the Test and Trace Service by text, email or phone, but the official tracers will never ask you to make any payment or for your bank details.”
The government’s Test and Trace Service will only ask you for information found on the contact tracing website: https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk/help/privacy-notice or on the government’s website:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works. This will include your full name, date of birth and details of any symptoms you may have.
If you have tested positive for coronavirus: you will either receive a call, text or email from NHS Test and Trace with instructions on how to share details of the people you have been in close contact with.
If you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, you will be contacted in the same ways and asked about symptoms.
You will only ever be called from the number 0300 013 5000 or receive a text from NHS.
However, if you do not feel comfortable talking on the phone or suspect the call to be a scam, you can ask for an email or a text that will invite you to use the Test and Trace website instead. From this email you should only ever be directed to contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk. You can check this by looking in the address bar at the top of your web browser to see if it is the address shown, it should also have a small padlock symbol next to, indicating that the website connection is secure.
Check the address carefully, if you see a different address it is likely to be a scam and you should close the window immediately.
If you are in any doubt always submit information via the Test and Trace website.