NHS COVID-19 contact tracing message: Possible concerns?
There are some concerns that fraudsters will pretend to be from the NHS Test and Trace service and may use it for unofficial purposes to obtain personal details.
Contact tracing works by asking people who have tested positive for the virus to share the details of others they have been in contact with, who could have caught it from them.
Things to remember:
- The phone number used will show up as 0300 013 5000
- People will only be requested to enter details in the official Gov.uk website
- Remember - do not assume anything, don’t believe things if they sound wrong and if in doubt confirm, via our Operation Shield 01255 686700 helplines which continue to be staffed Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm.
How the contract tracing process works
If you have coronavirus symptoms you can get tested.
If your test is positive, you’ll be contacted by the NHS by text, email or phone.
The NHS Test and Trace service will subsequently only get in touch with you for one of the following two reasons:
1. You’ve tested positive for the virus
If you test positive for the virus, you’ll be contacted within a week of taking the test.
Genuine texts, calls or emails from the NHS service won’t ask you for any personal details upfront.
You’ll be given a unique ID number to log in to the NHS Test and Trace website. The only official web address for the NHS Test and Trace service is: https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk/
Once you’ve logged in using your ID, you’ll be asked to enter some basic information about yourself including:
- Your name, date of birth and current address
- Names of the people you live with
- Places you’ve recently visited
- Names and contact details of people you were in touch with around 48 hours before you developed symptoms.
You won’t be asked to share this information upfront over a call or text, so if someone is asking you for it directly, they’re probably a scammer.
And if you get a call about testing positive for coronavirus, but you haven’t taken a test in the past week or have never taken a coronavirus test, then the call isn’t real.
A smartphone app that automatically alerts people if they’ve been in contact with someone with coronavirus is still being trialled on the Isle of Wight.
It’s not currently available for the general population, so avoid downloading any apps that claim they’re contact tracing.
2. You’ve been in contact with someone else who has tested positive for the virus
The NHS will also contact you if someone else who has tested positive for the virus has been in close contact with you.
You’ll be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. You’ll be given advice on how to do this, what symptoms you should look out for and what to do if you develop the illness.
You won’t be asked for any other personal details or payment information in this kind of call or message. And, crucially, you won’t be asked to pass on the details of anyone you’ve been in contact with either.
This is because unless you have tested positive or developed symptoms, there is no need to notify anyone you’ve been in touch with at this stage.
It’s a red flag if you’re asked to hand over this information to a caller or by replying to a message.
Check the caller or sender’s details
The NHS Test and Trace service will only be contacting people by phone, text message or email.
Calls and texts will come from one verified NHS number: 0300 013 5000.
Calls from any other numbers, or from a withheld number, should be treated as fake.
How to report a Test and Trace scam
If you’ve received a suspect message or call, you can report it to Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting centre working with the police or if you have questions and general concerns through our TDC helpline on 01255 686700.
What if you think you’ve given your details away to a scammer?
If you’ve given away payment or bank details, let your bank know as soon as possible. They’ll be able to help you protect your accounts.
I have heard talk about Local Authorities playing a role in Track and Trace
Currently we are working with a number of partners to develop plans to determine how we can support the process locally, potentially playing a role in more complex settings such as schools, possibly care homes and business.
As soon as we know more we will update our information and we will be available on our phone lines to answer personal enquires related to this initiative.