Fake text messages offering “free” PCR test orders are received by “TestNTrace”.
Unwary members of the public are urged to be careful not to become victims of a Covid contact tracing text scam currently in circulation.
Text messages claiming to be from “TestNTrace” inform recipients that they have been in contact with someone infected with the Omicron variant of the virus.
They also include a fake NHS link with instructions on how to use that link to get a free PCR test kit.
But what should you do if you get one of these messages?
Here’s everything you need to know.
How does the scam work?
Ultimately, the fraudulent SMS messages target people who are at particular risk for health problems due to exposure to Covid-19.
With free tests now harder than ever to come by, the chance for freebies can be welcomed by anyone worried about Covid infection.
If you click on the link provided you will be taken to a landing page which looks like a typical NHS page – all links also lead to legitimate NHS websites and information portals.
“You only have to pay £0.99 to have the kit shipped,” the site promises, before taking you to a page where you can enter your personal details.
Does NHS Test and Trace still exist?
Routine contact tracing by NHS Test and Trace ended in England on 24 February 2022 as part of the government’s ‘Living with Covid’ plan.
And the government ended its track-and-trace program when it ended the legal obligation to self-isolate in February.
Because of this, there is no logical reason why a service would know that you were in “close contact” with anyone.
The fake website claims that PCR tests are mandatory for those who have been in contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19, but this has not been the case for several months.
“Failure to register could result in movement restrictions,” explains the fake website. Since when have there been “restrictions on movement”?
Since Test and Trace is no longer usable in the “traditional” sense, “TestNTrace” texts should definitely be ignored.
The real NHS Test and Trace would never have:
- Asked for bank details or payments
- Asked for details about other accounts e.g. e.g. social media
- Asked you to set up a password or PIN over the phone
- Asked you to call a premium number beginning with 09 or 087, for example
What should I do once I clicked the link?
If you clicked the text message’s dud NHS link, don’t panic just yet. There are still measures you can take to protect yourself.
First, if you accidentally clicked the link, close the webpage immediately.
Never enter passwords or other personal information on a page you opened by following a link in an unsolicited text message.
If you entered credit or debit card information, block your card immediately (many accounts offer this service) by contacting your card issuer.
Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to Ofcom free of charge on 7726 and then deleted.
https://www.nationalworld.com/health/is-test-and-trace-still-being-used-nhs-service-still-operating-scam-testntrace-pcr-test-text-message-fake-3707770 Is Test and Trace still used? Scam PCR test texts explained