It should have been obvious that criminals would find ways to exploit the coronavirus crisis to make money. This story also highlights an issue with the tracing system in the UK. How are you to know that the phone call you receive is genuine?
‘Good afternoon I'm calling from the NHS track and trace service. According to our system, you are likely to have been in close proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. This means that you now need to self-isolate for 7 days and take a COVID-19 test.'
'OK. Can you tell me who that person was?'
'I'm not able to tell you that. That is confidential information.'
'Right. Um... so ....'
'But you do need to be tested within the next 72 hours. So can I just get the best mailing address so that we can send a kit to you?'
'Ok (gives address)'
I just need to take a payment card so that we can finalize this and send the kit to you.'
'Sorry - a payment card? I thought this was all free?'
'No - I'm afraid not. There is a one-off fee of £50 for the kit and test results. Could you read off the long card number for me, please, when you're ready.'
'No - that's not right. This is part of the NHS so there's no charge.'
'I'm afraid there is. Can you give me the card number please - this is very important, and there are penalties for not complying.'
Puts the phone down.
This is how scammers work. And vulnerable people will fall for it.”