Bradford Council has seen a rise in fraudulent activity related to the NHS Test and Trace programme.
The council is concerned scammers are asking people to provide personal information whilst posing as contact tracers.
They have asked residents to remain vigilant and to report any potentially fraudulent contact and provided information for people to follow to ensure they don’t become victims of cybercrime.
Contact tracers from the NHS will only get in touch to inform people if they have had close contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.
Tracers will only contact people by text message, e-mail or phone and will guide people to sign in to the NHS test and trace contact-tracing website. Tracers will not ask people to make payments, purchase products or ask for people’s bank details.
Leader of Bradford Council, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, said: “Unfortunately, we have been alerted to a number of scams where fraudsters are taking advantage of the pandemic to deceive people – many of whom are elderly or vulnerable – into parting with money or personal details.
“The scams range from premium rate phone numbers to requests for sensitive personal information, and even demands for payments as high as £500 for a testing kit.
“We wouldn’t naturally know what to expect of a new service like NHS Test and Trace, so sadly it’s all too easy to see how people might fall victim – particularly if they are already concerned about their health and wellbeing.”
Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, Councillor Sarah Ferriby, said: “It’s important that we all work together to spread the word as widely as possible, through social media, family chats and other channels, and stop fraudsters taking advantage at this time of crisis.”
“It is vital that everyone remains on guard if they are contacted, and never disclose personal or financial details over the phone. If you think that someone has tried to contact you under false pretences or you have been the victim of a fraudster, then please report it to Action Fraud.”
Cybercrime can be reported to Action Fraud using their online tool and they can be contacted on 0300 123 2040.
Further information about the NHS Test and Trace system is also available online: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/nhs-test-and-trace-if-youve-been-in-contact-with-a-person-who-has-coronavirus/