Test and Trace is free – don’t fall victim to a con

Published Wednesday, 29 July 2020

People are being urged to be on their guard against a new coronavirus-related scam.

Criminals are now contacting people by phone, email and text, claiming to be from the NHS Test and Trace Service and asking for bank card details to cover the cost of the testing kit.

The genuine NHS service is free.

The warning comes during Scams Awareness Fortnight, and amid new research which shows that more than one in three people in the UK have been targeted in scams since lockdown began.

The Test and Trace Service aims to reduce the spread of coronavirus by quickly testing people with symptoms and either phoning, texting or emailing whoever they have had close contact with to tell them to self-isolate for 14 days.

In the scam, a message or phone call claiming to be from the NHS Test and Trace Service is sent or made to householders informing them that they have been in contact with somebody who has tested positive for coronavirus and that they need to self-isolate and take a test.

The scammers refuse to disclose who the householder has been in contact with but ask them to confirm their address so a testing kit can be sent to them. Bank card details are then requested to cover the cost of the testing kit.

Residents are reminded that the genuine NHS Test and Trace Service will never:

  • Ask for bank account details, passwords or PIN numbers
  • Ask for a payment or to buy a product
  • Ask you to download any software
  • 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.

Anyone asked these types of questions should report the incident to Action Fraud.

Cllr Abdul Salam Khan, Deputy Leader of Coventry City Council and Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities, said: “These criminals are preying on people’s anxieties about COVID-19 and they are also undermining the brilliant work being done to prevent the spread of the virus.

“It is absolutely vital that people do use the Test and Trace service, but please, remember that it is free and it is there to help us all. If anyone asks you for bank details or for private information, then please report them.”

Coventry residents are also being urged to remain on their guard against the threat of COVID-19 following a small increase in confirmed cases across the city.

With the slight easing of lockdown restrictions and with people going out more, there can be an increased risk of catching the virus.

People are urged to follow national guidelines and to self-isolate and seek a test if they start to show any symptoms. If you have come into contact with someone who has tested positive, then you must self-isolate for 14 days and seek a test if and only when you start to display symptoms.

To book a test, visit the NHS website or dial 119.

Remember - all tests are free and anyone asking you to pay for one means it will be a scam.

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