In May, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) uncovered evidence of an ongoing scam mimicking the UK Government’s COVID-19 Test & Trace system. Members of the public receive texts informing them that they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The message contains a link to a bogus website which asks for the personal details of the user.

CTSI was sent evidence a couple of days ago of a Scottish version of the scam which mimics the Scottish Government’s Test and Protect system. Individuals received WhatsApp messages from unknown numbers asking them to message back. If the recipient messages back, the person then asks for personal details which could be used for identity theft.

The NHS in Scotland released the following statement: “We’ve been made aware of a text message scam circulating, where messengers are posing as Test and Protect contact tracers are getting in touch with people and asking them to reply to the message and self-isolate immediately. This is not a genuine message from our Test and Protect team.”

CTSI Lead Officer, Katherine Hart, said: “CTSI uncovered evidence of this scam operating in England and Wales which is sadly still ongoing. Now it has crossed the border and is also targeting the public throughout Scotland. 

“It sickens me that fraudsters are targeting vulnerable communities across the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic. A genuine contact tracer will never ask for personal details such as your bank account and medical records, and they certainly won’t try to sell you anything. 

“These kinds of messages have appeared as both regular text messages and WhatsApp messages. Please do not respond to them. If you have any doubts about a message from Scotland’s Test and Protect team, please call 0800 030 8012 to verify.” The public is encouraged to report all instances of scams. To do this go to the Action Fraud website in England and Wales, or if in Scotland, call Police Scotland on 101

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