PEOPLE in Staffordshire are being urged to remain vigilant as reports about a new Coronavirus related scam hits the county.
The warning issued by Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards service follows concerns from residents that scammers claiming to be from the NHS Test and Trace service are potentially scamming people out of hundreds of pounds.
In the scam, people are told that they have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 and have to self-isolate for seven days. They are then asked for their address, so a test kit can be sent out to them. This is swiftly followed with a request for the resident's bank details, with the caller stating that the test and results cost £500.
Currently, coronavirus test kits are provided by the NHS and are free of charge. Anyone receiving such a call asking for bank details should be aware that it is a scam and hang up the phone immediately.
Gill Heath, cabinet member for Communities at Staffordshire County Council said: “During times of crisis, we always see criminals trying to take advantage of the situation, and trying to get their hands on your personal data or relieve you of some of your hard earned money. These kinds of scammers are experts at impersonating organisations, and they will spend time researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment.
“This latest scam can appear genuine but please don’t fall for it. If you need a Coronavirus test sent out to you because you are unable to attend a test site, this is done for free, both delivery and collection, followed up by the result.”
Real contact tracers with the NHS Test and Trace service will never do any of the following:
• Ask you for details of card or bank account numbers
• Ask you to provide or fill in social media login details
• Ask you to set up a pin
• Ask you to download anything
You will only ever be called from the number 0300 013 5000, or you will be texted from “NHS.
Coun Heath added: “Remember, any kind of unsolicited approach whether on the doorstep, over the phone or in an email should start to ring alarm bells, so please stay alert and watch out for your older neighbours and relatives as they can be really vulnerable to scams too.”
If you think you have been a victim of a scam contact your bank immediately, and report the scam to Action Fraud.