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Public warned of scam text claiming they have been close to person with Covid-19

The latest scam comes before the contact tracing app is made available to the whole country.

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Example of a bogus text claiming a person has been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 (CTSI/PA)

Example of a bogus text claiming a person has been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 (CTSI/PA)

Example of a bogus text claiming a person has been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 (CTSI/PA)

The public are being warned of another scam related to coronavirus doing the rounds, this time attempting to fool people into believing they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

It comes as a trial of the UK’s contact tracing app continues on the Isle of Wight, ahead of a roll-out to the rest of the country expected in mid-May.

Bogus text messages seen by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) appear as though they were sent by an official source associated with the app, directing recipients to a website for more information.

But the link actually attempts to gain bank account and other personal identity details.

The scam text reads: “Someone who came in contact with you tested positive or has shown symptoms for Covid-19 & recommends you self-isolate/get tested.”

“We have witnessed a surge in Covid-19-related scams since lockdown began,” said Katherine Hart, CTSI lead officer.

“This evidence is yet another example of scammers modifying their campaigns as the situation develops.

“I am especially concerned that scams themed around the contact tracing app are already appearing, even though the official NHS app has only been released in a limited testing phase on the Isle of Wight.

“These texts are a way to steal personal data and may put the bank accounts of recipients at risk.

“If anyone receives texts or other kinds of messages like this, they should not click on any accompanying links, and report them to Action Fraud.”

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) recently said it had received more than 160,000 reports of suspicious emails within two weeks of launching a new scam-busting service, many of which were related to Covid-19.

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