'Despicable' fraudsters pose as contract tracers in Covid cash scam

15 September 2020, 15:02

Alan Zycinski

By Alan Zycinski

Scotland's First Minister has warned that "despicable" scammers are pretending to be COVID-19 contact tracers.

Nicola Sturgeon's said a "small number" of people are calling homes claiming to work for Test and Protect.

The fraudsters then claim payment is needed for a test and ask for banking or credit card details.

It comes after we told back in March how Coronavirus-related fraud had risen by 400 per cent within the space of a month in London.

Nicola Sturgeon said: "We have become aware that some fake callers are pretending to work for Test and Protect, and are trying to con people by claiming that payment is needed for a test."

"Sadly, this reminds us there are always a small number of people - it's a tiny minority but nevertheless they're there - who will try to exploit any situation they can to defraud people.

"It is truly and utterly despicable, particularly at this time of crisis we are living through.

"In light of it, I wanted to take the opportunity today to remind you and ask you to remind others you know that Covid tests are free and will always be free for those who need them."

"Nobody from Test and Protect will ever ask you for financial information. They will never ask you for your bank or credit card details, and they will never try to sell you anything.

"But I thought I would just take the opportunity to stress what will and will not be asked of you if you do get one of these calls, so that together we can make sure these people who attempt these scams don't get anywhere in Scotland."

"The only thing Test & Protect staff will ask you about is where you've been and details of the people you've been in contact with."

"Callers will always introduce themselves and state the reason for their call. They will know your name. They will ask you for details of people you have come into contact with, in a relevant time period. And they will always call from the same number - 0800 030 8012 - and they will also give you the option of calling back on that number if you need to verify the service."

Anyone in Scotland can report any concerns about calls to Advice Direct Scotland. 

If you have been the victim of a scam, you should contact the police on 101.