Can you believe your eyes?

We are all aware that a phone call may come at any time to advise us about Covid 19 .

But did you know that modern phones can be tricked into displaying false information about who is actually calling you?

Even though the calling number on your phone may show as the right NHS contact number – 0300 013 5000 – you may actually be talking to scammers and fraudsters who know how to display the NHS number on your phone, even though they are calling from a completely different one.

So if you receive a call from this number it could be a legitimate NHS call, but it may not be.

Here’s some ways to help you spot a fake telephone call:

  • 0300 013 5000 is the only number the NHS Test and Trace service will use, if the number is different or if it is withheld, simply hang up.
  • There are only two reasons the NHS Test and Trace service will contact you on this number:
    1. You have been tested within the last 72 hours and the result is positive.
    2. You have been traced as someone who has been in close contact with an infected person.

In each of these two cases the Test and Trace service WILL NOT ask you for any personal details during this phone call other than to confirm your full name; date of birth and post code. If the person seeks more than this, the call is a scam. Simply hang up.

If you have never been tested or have been – but over 72 hours ago – the call is a scam. Simply hang up.

This is what will happen in a legitimate call.

1. If the reason for the call is that you have been tested within the last 72 hours and are positive, you will be given a unique ID number and asked to log into the Test and Trace website. What is this NHS website address?

Do check any website address you are given matches the spelling of this address exactly, nothing is different, nothing is missing. If it isn’t exactly this, don’t go to the site and register, it will be a scam.

It is only after you log in to this website that you will enter further personal details about yourself and other people you may have been in contact with – not over the phone when you are called.

2. Alternatively, if the reason for the call is that you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, you will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days and given advice, including symptoms that may appear.

Remember that DURING a legitimate call from 0300 013 5000, you WILL NOT be asked:

  1. For any payment or payment information whatsoever.
  2. For any further personal details beyond those you have already (just) confirmed of full name; date of birth and post code.
  3. For any details whatsoever about anyone else.
  4. To ring them back so you can verify the call you’ve received is legitimate.
  5. To download software or grant access to your computer to someone else
  6. For any login details, pin numbers, user names or passwords to anywhere, including social media sites.

In other words the call gets just three things from you: Full name; date of birth; post code.

Scammers are very good at sounding plausible and will keep you talking until they get their way, so if you have any doubts, don’t argue, don’t be worried about being impolite, simply hang up.

After all, if it was a legitimate call, NHS staff will understand you doing this and they won’t mind you keeping yourself safe.

Take care