19th June 2020

COVID-19 home testing scam alert

A new scam has emerged in which criminals pose as health officials to gain access to people’s homes.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
This is simply an attempt by thieves to gain access to people's homes under cover of coronavirus measures

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has witnessed evidence of bogus texts informing members of the public that a ‘COVID Home Testing Team’ will visit their homes.

The text specifies a date and time for the visit and that the ‘team’ will telephone the recipient upon arrival. The text becomes suspicious where it states that the team “will enter your property and we will remain inside the front door to put on our protective clothing. You must wait in a separate room before we come to you.”

Katherine Hart, CTSI Lead Officer for Doorstep Crime, said: “This is simply an attempt by thieves to gain access to people’s homes under cover of coronavirus measures. Members of the public should ignore these text messages and report them to Action Fraud in England and Wales, or to Police Scotland if in Scotland.”

NHS Test and Trace will never ask you for financial details, PINs or passwords. They will also never visit your home.

To report instances of scam texts, emails, or other suspected scam messages, go to the Action Fraud website, or if in Scotland, call Police Scotland on 101. You can also report suspicious texts by forwarding the original message to 7726, which spells SPAM on your keypad.

The public is also encouraged to become a Friend Against Scams, an initiative by National Trading Standards which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams.

It is currently Scams Awareness fortnight. As part of this, the Consumer Protection Partnership (CPP) is bringing together key partners in the consumer protection landscape to better identify, prioritise and coordinate collective action against scams. This includes collective action to inform, educate and protect consumers about scams.

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