During Scams Awareness Fortnight, people across Tayside are being warned to be vigilant for scams linked to coronavirus.
Scams Awareness Fortnight (15 to 28 June) is run by Citizens Advice and aims to create a network of confident, alert consumers.
This year protecting people against scams is more important than ever. The coronavirus crisis means more people are facing issues from employment and debt, to housing and health, resulting in more people being in vulnerable situations. Added to this, the overall heightened uncertainty and anxiety caused by the pandemic is making everyone more vulnerable and more likely to fall victim to a scam.
Dr Ellie Hothersall, Consultant in Public Health Medicine with NHS Tayside and lead for the Test and Protect programme in Tayside said, “It is important for people to be vigilant to possible scams and to always double check who they are speaking to before giving out any information.
“We want to make sure that people are confident in the Test and Protect programme and can be sure they are speaking with a legitimate contact tracer if they are contacted.
“If you have any concerns about the authenticity of a contact tracing call, you should take the caller’s full name and phone NHS Tayside’s switchboard on 01382 660111. Ask to be put through to the Test and Protect Contact Tracing Team who can verify the call for you.”
As part of the Test and Protect programme, NHS contact tracing teams are notified of positive test results for COVID-19. People with a positive test will receive a phone call from someone working with the contact tracing team.
You will be asked a series of questions to gain information such as who you live with, which people you have been near recently and where you have been. The contact tracer will then decide which people you have been near recently should be classified as ‘contacts’.The contact tracing team will then get in touch by phone with those people classified as ‘contacts’ to inform them and give them advice. They will not be told the identity of the person with COVID-19 who they had contact with unless the person with COVID-19 has given explicit consent for this information to be shared with the contact.
The public are asked to note what information contact tracers will and will not ask for.
Contact tracers will:
· Introduce themselves, identify you by name and state the reason for their call.
· Ask about your symptoms, where you work and for information on your movements.
· When speaking to people with confirmed COVID-19 infection (i.e. cases), they will request the names, phone numbers and locations of people you have been physically close to.
What contact tracers will NEVER do:
· Ask for bank account details.
· They may ask you about your general health but will never request your medical records.
· Make you reveal your passwords or pins, or ask you to set up any.
· Offer services, ask you to download anything or try to sell anything.
· Ask you to phone a premium rate number.
· Ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts.
· Ask for control of your computer, smartphone or tablet.
· Ask you to visit a website that does not belong to NHS Scotland or the Scottish Government.
Contact Police Scotland on 101 if scammers are in your area or if you have fallen foul of a scam.
Scams can also be reported to Citizens Advice through their consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133. Advice regarding scams can be found at Advice Direct Scotland on www.consumeradvice.scot or on 0808 800 9060.