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Covid-19 Omicron Variant Scam Messages 16/12/21

Neighbourhood Watch Scotland has shared information about a scam after members reported receiving emails and/or text messages with NHS branding calling on them to "apply now for Omicron PCR test to avoid restrictions."

Click to read the full story and advice on how you can protect yourself from this scam...  

The message claims that older PCR tests cannot detect the Omicron variant and that a new type of PCR test is required. It also states that individuals who refuse to be tested will be forced to isolate.

It then asks the recipient to order the new PCR test using a bogus link within the email or text.  It appears to direct the user to what looks like an official NHS platform.  The website hosts a form that requests personal details which could potentially be used to access sensitive information, such as bank accounts.

Advice:

  • If you think you’ve been scammed, report it to Police Scotland on 101. If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999.
  • Contact your bank if you think you have been scammed or attempts have been made to get money from any of your accounts.
  • For further advice, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133 or click here to visit the Police Scotland website.
  • Take advantage of the free online training at FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk to learn more about different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others.
  • Know who you’re dealing with - if you are unsure or need help, talk to someone you know or get in touch with Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000 or via their website.
  • Report any suspicious emails by forwarding them to report@phishing.gov.uk.
  • Suspicious text messages can be sent to 7726 – free of charge.

For advice on how to stay safe online click here to visit the National Cyber Security Centre or sign up for monthly alerts from Cyber Scotland, which contains all manner of cyber related information cyberscotland.com.   

If you are unsure about a call you receive in relation to Covid-19, hang up and call the NHS Scotland national helpline from a different device, on 0800 030 8013. 

Avoid cyber threats and misleading information about Covid-19 by checking official sources: