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Warning as Omicron text scam circulates

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Warning as Omicron text scam circulates

A warning has been issued over scam text messages and emails which are in circulation, designed to con people into giving out personal information.

People have been receiving emails and texts featuring NHS branding informing them they have been in contact with someone who has the Omicron variant and urging them to “apply now for Omicron PCR test to avoid restrictions”.

In one example, the scam text reads: “NHS: You have been in close contact with someone who contracted Omicron. You must order a Test Kit.”

The message includes a web link to a website which looks like an official NHS page, but which requests personal details, including bank details.

Katherine Hart, lead officer of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), which has issued the warning, said: “It disgusts me that scammers are jumping on the public’s fears about the omicron variant in an attempt to steal their personal data.

“All of the claims in the email are false. The public is especially vulnerable at this time, and I call on everyone to share this message so that we can minimise the impact of this scam.

“This is by no means the first time fraudsters have used the pandemic for their gain – since March 2020, the unscrupulous have angled their scams on everything from bogus Covid-19 business support grants and vaccination bookings to fake vaccine passes.

“It is also crucial that the public reports this scam to the authorities. By doing so, the public aids consumer protectors in mapping out the problem and recognising the sheer scale of it.”

Anyone who encounters a scam is urged to contact Action Fraud via actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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