Compared to the first week of January 2022, the first week of February has seen an 290% increase in Omicron-related smishing lures, according to cybersecurity researchers at Proofpoint.

Scammers are pretending to be NHS Track and Trace telling them they have been in contact with someone who may have Omicron, and then encourages them to complete an order for a test kit via a malicious website link.

The online ordering process would then capture and steal the personal information including possibly credit card information and/or NHS healthcare ID. 

It’s important to remember the NHS and the Government will never ask for personal details.

Fake test order sites. (Proofpoint)

Advice to avoid NHS Covid scam

Jacinta Tobin, vice president of Cloudmark Operations for Proofpoint, said: “Consumers need to be very sceptical of mobile messages that come from unknown sources. And it’s important to never click on links in text messages, no matter how realistic they look.

“If you want to contact the purported vendor sending you a link, do so directly through their website and always manually enter the web address/URL.

“For offer codes, type them directly into the site as well. It’s also vital that you don’t respond to strange texts or texts from unknown sources. Doing so will often confirm you’re a real person to future scammers.”

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