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NHS Test and Trace - what you need to know

The NHS Test and Trace Service is aimed at identifying and advising people who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Close contact is defined as:

  • Having face-to-face contact with someone (less than 1 metre away)
  • Spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of someone
  • Travelling in a car or other small vehicle with someone (even on a short journey) or close to them on a plane.

We want you to recognise the difference between a genuine and a fraudulent NHS Test and Trace conversation. There are reports that scammers are trying to impersonate contact tracers in an attempt to obtain personal information.

NHS Test and Trace contact tracers will always:

  • Call from 0300 013 5000
  • Send text messages from ‘NHS’
  • Ask people to sign in to the NHS test and trace contact-tracing website
  • Ask for your full name and date of birth to confirm identity, and postcode to offer support while self-isolating
  • Ask about any coronavirus symptoms
  • Ask you to provide the name, telephone number and/or email address of anyone you have had close contact with in the two days prior to symptoms starting
  • Ask if anyone you have been in contact with is under 18 or lives outside of England

They will never:

  • Ask for bank details, or payments
  • Ask for details of any other accounts, such as social media
  • Set up a password or PIN number over the phone
  • Call from a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087

More information about NHS Test and Trace is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works

An example transcript of a fraudulent attempt by scammers to impersonate an NHS Test and Trace contact tracer is:

‘Good morning, I'm calling from the NHS Test and Trace service. According to our system, you are likely to have been in close proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. This means that you now need to self-isolate for seven days and take a COVID-19 test.'

'OK. Can you tell me who that person was?'

'I'm not able to tell you that. That is confidential information.'

'Right. Um... so ....'

'But you do need to be tested within the next 72 hours. So can I just get the best mailing address so that we can send a kit to you?'

'Ok (gives address)'

'Thank you - and I just need to take a payment card so that we can finalise this and send the kit to you.'

'Sorry - a payment card? I thought this was all free?'

'No - I'm afraid not. There is a one-off fee of £500 for the kit, and test results. Could you read off the long card number for me, please, when you're ready.'

'No - that's not right. This is part of the NHS so there's no charge.'

'I'm afraid there is. Can you give me the card number please - this is very important, and there are penalties for not complying.'

ENDS CALL