Advice for consumers: NHS ‘test and trace’ scams

10 June 2020

There have been suggestions that scammers could use the NHS test and trace service as a method of obtaining personal or financial information from victims.

This scam is a form of number spoofing. This involves scammers making it look like that they’re calling from a different number to the one they’re actually using. In this case, the number they may try to mimic to hide their real identity is the test and trace number - 0300 0135 000.

Phone companies are working hard to make it difficult for scammers to make these calls, but here’s some information that you might find useful.

Of course, it’s important that if you receive a genuine call from the test and trace service, you should be able to trust it and act on the information you’re being given.

So, here’s some advice on what to expect from a genuine test and trace call.

The only website the service will ask you to visit is https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk.

On a genuine call, contact tracers will never:

  • ask you to dial a premium rate number (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 – including a test;
  • ask you to download any software to your device or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet; or
  • ask you to access any website that does not belong to the Government or NHS.

This information is relevant to England. For information relating to the various testing programmes in the other nations, please find links to the relevant websites below.

Scotland

  • Scottish Government’s website provides a brief checklist of what to expect from a legitimate Contact Tracing call and a link to the NHS Scotland page.
  • Trading Standards Scotland give the same information about what to expect from a legitimate call, ways to spot a scam and some of the official numbers you can expect to be called from, depending on which area you live in. The website also links to the Scottish Government page, the NHS Scotland page and Public Health Scotland.

Wales

Northern Ireland

If you receive a call from somebody claiming to be from the NHS, and they ask you to do any of these things, hang up and report the call:

  • to Action Fraud, by calling 0300 123 2040 or by visiting its website, if you are in England, Wales or Northern Ireland; or
  • to the Police, via 101, if you are in Scotland.