The National Health Service (NHS) has issued a widespread warning after revealing an SMS scam which attempts to fraudulently steal people’s bank details.
Since April 1, free coronavirus test kits have been scrapped for the majority of England, meaning people have to buy them from high street retailers unless they meet strict profiling criteria .
And since the government changed the rules around testing, scammers have taken the opportunity to try to pray over the most vulnerable, sending fake text messages containing dangerous links.
The Liverpool Echo reports that the latest trending scam tells people they have been in contact with a Covid carrier, before directing them to a bogus NHS website where they can ‘buy a test’. However, the unfortunates who fell for this fake message parted with financial and personal details to never receive said tests.
The NHS tweeted: “We have seen reports of fake NHS text messages regarding the ordering of Omicron COVID-19 test kits. We never ask for bank details, so be aware of suspicious messages.”
Rachel Jones, CEO of SnapDragon Monitoring, added: “This latest Covid scam seems to hijack the fact that the government’s free testing program has stopped, so when people are asked to pay for a test, it seems legit. These types of text and domain spoofing scams are commonplace today and earn millions for fraudsters every year.
“Anyone who receives this type of text message – whether allegedly from the NHS, Royal Mail, HMRC or anyone else seeking sensitive information and in particular bank details – should never click on the link. it and delete it.”
If you’ve received a suspicious text message, most phone companies are part of a program that allows customers to report it for free by forwarding it to 7726. If you forward an SMS to 7726, your provider can investigate the origin of the SMS and arrange to block or ban the sender if it turns out to be malicious.
If you have received an email that you are not entirely sure of, you should forward it to: [email protected]