Lancashire residents warned to watch out for NHS Covid passport scam
Lancashire County Council Trading Standards Service are warning residents to be on the lookout for a fake NHS Covid passport scam that's been duping people into handing over their financial details.
Fraudsters are attempting to con the public by convincing them to hand over money, financial details and personal information.
The sophisticated scam involves people receiving a text or email purportedly from the NHS asking them for their payment details so they can process their Covid pass. Residents have also reported being contacted by phone by someone falsely claiming to be from the NHS.
The NHS Covid Pass is free and is available via the NHS App, the NHS website or by calling 119. The NHS will never ask for payment or any financial details or issue fines or penalties about your NHS Covid Pass.
County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: "Criminals will always look for opportunities to exploit and will think nothing of preying on people's fears and concerns to get their hands on their personal details.
"Some of the scams we are coming across, particularly those relating to Covid-19, are getting more sophisticated so it's important to stay two steps ahead. Any communication that attempts to pressure you into handing over your personal details should trigger alarm bells and you should never do that without further investigation.
"Once these crooks have your details, they can commit identity theft, take money from your account, or pass them on to organised crime networks, so it's vital you don't reply and report them as soon as possible.
"If you receive an email or text similar this then do not click on any links and please report it to the Trading Standards Service."
Another coronavirus con to look out for is a phishing scam that asks the recipient to click on a link to order an Omicron PCR test.
The scam email urges the recipient to 'apply now to avoid restrictions' and is headed up with the NHS logo.
If you receive an email like this, do not click any of the links contained within it.
Be suspicious of emails received that offer such tests and forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Buckley added: "If you have symptoms of Covid-19 then you need to book a PCR test online or by calling 119.
"Rapid lateral flow tests for people who are symptomatic can be ordered online or picked up from your nearest collection point, which can be located using the NHS Site Finder."
Information on how to get a Covid'19 test can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing/get-tested-for-coronavirus/ or by calling 119.
To keep up to date with the latest scam alerts, follow the county council's Scambuster Stan page on Facebook.
To report any suspicious activity, contact the Trading Standards Service via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.