Warning as fake NHS Covid-19 test scam plagues UK mobile numbers

NHS in England begin delivering booster jabs

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It comes as many people in the country grow accustomed to self-testing and ordering testing kits online. Scamming in this manner, known as ‘smishing’, aims to trick people into clicking on a link leading to a fake website.

From here, it is not uncommon for the site to request personal details, placing sensitive information in the hands of criminals.

The current piece in circulation looks very convincing.

It reads: “You have been contacted by someone who has Covid-19. You must order a PCR Testing Kit here: https://nhs-pcrtestkit.com.”

The messages are designed to target certain groups of people, with the elderly and vulnerable most at risk.

Previous ‘smishing’ scams have included fake police officers claiming to be from the anti-fraud department, and fake bank managers claiming irregularities in a bank account.

Whereas the NHS does indeed send certain information via SMS, all official requests concerning the NHS testing services are directed solely through the official GOV.UK website. (Get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19)), while any contract tracing requests in England takes place via https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk.

A copy of the link was reported to the National Cyber Security Center

A spokesperson for the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said: “Whilst it is possible for criminals to fake official phone numbers, they cannot fake official website addresses.”

“We would encourage anyone with concerns about a phone call, text message or email they have received, in relation to test and trace, to check the website address being provided to you carefully.

“If possible, type the official address, which will be https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk followed by the unique characters given to you, directly into your browser.

“If you think you have been sent a scam message, please report it to Action Fraud.

“If people receive an email which they’re not quite sure about, they can forward it to the National Cyber Security Centre’s Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) via [email protected]

“To report a spam text forward the message to Ofcom’s spam texting service on 7726.”

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For now, the site appears to have been removed.

If you are a victim of fraud, inform the police by calling 101.

For information about reporting fraud, preventing fraud and types of fraud, visit the Action Fraud website on Action Fraud.

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