/ Scams

Scam alert: fake NHS Covid-19 PCR test text

A fake text message purporting to be from the NHS has been circulating, demanding that you ‘order a PCR testing kit’. Here’s what it looks like.

23/02/22: ‘close contact’ test kits

Fake texts claiming that you’ve ‘been in contact with someone who has recently tested positive’ are continuing.

These texts take you through to convincing clones of the NHS site. Following the instructions will eventually lead to a page requesting your bank card details in order to pay a ‘delivery fee’.

 

As explained below, the NHS would not contact you in this way or ask for your bank details. If you need to get a PCR test, visit the official GOV.UK site.

If you think you may have given sensitive information to fraudsters, let your bank know what’s happened immediately.

16/09/21: fake PCR texts

Many of us have been ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid-19 app at some point over the summer, so you might just be inclined to believe another communication stating that ‘you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19’.

But what the app wouldn’t tell you to do, of course, is order a PCR testing kit from a dubious website linked to in a text message out of the blue from an unrecognised number.

This is yet another example of fraudsters seeking to panic you into following a URL leading to a fake website, known as ‘smishing‘.

These links often lead to convincing cloned sites attempting to get you to enter all manner of personal information, and often bank details.

Reporting fake texts and websites

While the NHS does contact people via text in some cases, it would only ask you to order a test via the official GOV.UK site (https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test), while contact tracing only takes place in England via https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk/

Here’s how you can tell the difference between genuine NHS texts and those impersonating them.

We reported the site in the text to the National Cyber Security Centre via report@phishing.gov.uk.

We also showed a copy to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). A spokesperson said:

Whilst it is possible for criminals to fake official phone numbers, they cannot fake official website addresses. We would encourage anyone with concerns about a phone call, text message or email they have received, in relation to test and trace, to check the website address being provided to you carefully. If possible, type the official address, which will be https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk followed by the unique characters given to you, directly into your browser.

To check what is and isn’t going to be asked, visit the NHS.UK site here. If you think you have been sent a scam message, please report it to Action Fraud.  If people receive an email which they’re not quite sure about, they can forward it to the National Cyber Security Centre’s Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) via report@phishing.gov.uk

To report a spam text forward the message to Ofcom’s spam texting service on 7726.

Fortunately, the site now appears to have been removed.

Guide: how to spot a scam

Guide: how to get your money back after a scam

Have you received smishing attempts like this recently? If so, what did they say? Have you encountered other types of scams using the NHS’s name and/or logo?

If so, let us know in the comments.

Comments
John says:
4 May 2022

I just got this text and my phone detected it as spam with I really wish that law enforcement agency’s would do more to protect people from these scams.

Martin says:
4 May 2022

Had the same text at 05:54 this morning.

Marie Daly says:
4 May 2022

Had the same text this morning at 01.06am this morning. Worried and concerned. Sent an email message to the Phishing/fraud Depts. What are/is being done about these as I’m a vulnerable person with underlying health conditions that would/could be affected. So getting scam messages like these is very scary and worrying and it leaves me and others worried about real messages coming through and not answering them in case their scams again?

Sonia Tindall says:
10 May 2022

I received a text saying I had been in contact with someone with Omicron and to order a test. It took me through to what looked like the NHS site, and asked for the 99p delivery charge. STUPID PERSON .. I realised after and froze my card.

matt says:
11 May 2022

I had the same text today from 07563864242 which had a link to a site with address swab-test-trace.com. This site needs to be taken down immediately before more people enter their bank/card details

[Moderator: this website this could be a scam website. We’ve retained the URL to help you identify it, but we’ve redirected the link to our guidance on how to spot fraudulent website. ]

Becky mocatta says:
16 May 2022

I got one of these yesterday saying:
NHS-UK Health Department: We have been notified you have been in close contact with a confirmed Omicron case. You must book a PCR test kit swab-test-trace.com

Mr p says:
25 May 2022

I have received one too from mypcr-kit.web.app very convincing, almost had me

Corrinna says:
25 May 2022

I’ve just received this:
“NHS-UK: Test & Trace noticed you were in contact with somebody who has tested positive for COVID-19. Please order a PCR test kit via: https://mypcr-kit.web.app
From: +44 7529 674151

I went to an NHS dentist yesterday so very convincing!

[Moderator: this website this could be a scam website. We’ve retained the URL to help you identify it, but we’ve redirected the link to our guidance on how to spot fraudulent website. ]

stewart says:
25 May 2022

I received a text today saying I had been in contact with someone who tested positive order PCR test kit via https://mypcrkit.web.app sent from a mobile 7529 674152

[Moderator: this website this could be a scam website. We’ve retained the URL to help you identify it, but we’ve redirected the link to our guidance on how to spot fraudulent website. ]

Received the text this morning and almost fell for it. Very convincing looking and they now have my name, address and DOB but I stopped when it asked for my credit card details for £1.29 postage. They almost caught me again recently with the fake Digital Passport scam. I thought I was quite savvy at spotting scams but obviously not. Must be more vigilant in future!

Mandy says:
25 May 2022

Hi Ivor, I had the exact same text as you today and did the same as you. Can they now use our personal details? Ie phone number, email, fob and address? Like you I stopped at giving out bank details.

Roger Bradwell says:
25 May 2022

Had this text this morning, very convincing website, only stopped when they asked for £1.29 for delivery and I carried out online investigation but it had me convinced to start with.

Tim says:
28 May 2022

Yeah had the same message sent to me yesterday,clicked on link ,entered my DOB and phone number but stopped when asking for card number. To answer Mandy, I don’t know though if they now have access to my details…maybe if you only complete the scam to completion.

Tim says:
29 May 2022

+447928429278 This was the number that sent the scam text.

Mark says:
11 June 2022

Received from +44 7568 401212

You have been in cIose contact with a confirmed Omicron case. To protect yourself and others around you, please order a test by visiting: national-health-uk.com

——

Totally legitimate looking site and unfortunately gave my card details but I have now cancelled the card. Went back over the site, and it accepts absolutely anything apart from a fake card number. Reported to the government UK fraud reporting site. I am normally cautious but feel stupid and annoyed it wasted an hour of my time this morning.

You’re not alone. Me too. I did call my bank to frozen my card.

Monica Carre says:
13 June 2022

I received text at 01.12 today, responded until payment was asked for, then checked this site.
Monica Carre

[Moderator: we’ve edited this comment to remove a personal email address. Please do not post personal contact details or other personally identifiable information – this is for everyone’s privacy. For more information see the Community guidelines]

I did get the message this morning to order a PCR test kit on health-care-uk.com from the phone number
+44 792 718 6155. Beware of this number.

Snn Whittaker says:
1 July 2022

Yes I received one of these and, being unwell at the time, gave my card number for the 99p postage! However my niece warned me it was a scam and my bank cancelled my card before any harm was done. Apparently they don’t act immediately but follow up with a phone call asking for more details. That’s when they clear your account!

Joanna says:
2 July 2022

Just had the same message from this number +44 7713 701664.