Fraudsters are targeting households by pretending to be the NHS’s new coronavirus contact tracing service in the latest attempt to harvest personal details.
A screenshot of one text message posted on social media platform Twitter purporting to be from one of Britain’s 25,000 contact tracers tells the recipient someone they came into contact has shown symptoms, and that more details could be found at ‘covid-19anon.com/alert’.
The address in the text message is a fake phishing link, with the user who posted the tweet writing: ‘Anyone going to that website link will be asked to submit personal information that will then be used by fraudsters.’
Impersonation scams of the new NHS contact tracing service are already doing the rounds
The message is just the latest example of the flurry of phishing emails and text messages sent out since the coronavirus outbreak arrived in Britain.
Action Fraud has received 11,206 reports of coronavirus-related phishing emails, while scams involving the virus have claimed £4.69million from 2,057 victims. Some 70 phone numbers involved in sending scam text messages have also been blocked, police revealed at the end of April.
Phishing links are designed to capture victims’ personal and financial details, which can subsequently be used by fraudsters either for the purpose of identity theft or to commit fraud using stolen card details.
The news that fake texts claiming to be from the new contact tracing service are already doing the rounds flies in the face of an assertion from England’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries, who said Sunday it was ‘highly unlikely you will be contacted inappropriately by anyone’.
Responding to a question from a member of the public at Sunday’s daily coronavirus briefing about how you could be sure a call was genuine, Dr Harries said: ‘I think it will be evident when somebody rings you that these are professionally trained individuals.’
England’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries said it would be ‘evident’ that people were being contacted by professionally trained contact tracers
She added the 25,000 tracers ‘will start with a piece of information and it is highly unlikely with all the confidentiality around the data systems that you will be contacted inappropriately by anyone.’
However, fraudsters are adept at using publicly available or illicitly obtained data to gain victims’ trust, while they are also capable of spoofing the…