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Warnings over fake ‘NHS’ emails offering non-existent omicron test

Warnings over fake ‘NHS’ emails offering non-existent omicron test
Fraudsters claim to be offering variant-specific PCR test before requesting bank details

Alarms have been sounded over a fake “NHS” Covid email in circulation that attempts to scam people out of money.

Fraudsters are sending out emails that pretend to offer an omicron variant-specific PCR test – which does not exist.

Clicking on the link in the email leads to a fake NHS website that requests bank details from the email recipient.

It falsely claims that the tests will allow recipients to “travel freely and safely” and that those who are not tested will be forced to self-isolate at home – which is also not true.

O Departamento de Educação (DfE) is one organisation that has urged people to be “vigiliant” about the emails, after a number of schools have been “targeted” by the scammers.

The DfE shared an NHS post on social media that states official NHS emails would never ask for anyone’s bank details.

Several local authorities and NHS bodies have also reported receiving the scam emails, and shared screenshots of a message that calls on recipients to “get your free Omicron PCR today to avoid restrictions”.

Meaghan Kall, lead epidemologist at the UK Health Security Agency, has said there is no such thing as an omicron-specific PCR test.

Posting on her Twitter account, ela escreveu: “Omicron is detected perfectly well using PCR tests currently in operation. Such a shame, but not a surprise, to see people preying on people’s fears for financial gain.”

Guidance from the World Health Organisation states: “The widely used PCR tests continue to detect infection, including infection with omicron, as we have seen with other variants as well. Studies are ongoing to determine whether there is any impact on other types of tests, including rapid antigen detection tests.”

The scam was also reported by fraud protection service firm Individual Protection Solutions following a report from one of its members.

Founder Charlie Shakeshaft said the scam was “particularly sinister” because it preyed on people’s fears about the newest Covid variant.

Ele disse O sol: “Scammers are using the social uncertainty surrounding omicron to prey on vulnerable people.

“They’re targeting people who are in desperate need to book a test before the crowds in a bid to get them to act quickly.

“Those who are the most vulnerable to the strain are the most desperate, and so are most likely to fall for the scam, which makes it particularly sinister.”

The NHS has issued a warning about the emails, adding in a tweet: “We never ask for bank details, so please be aware of suspicious emails or text messages.”

Full Fact website states that the email shows a “number of red flags” indicating that it is part of a scam.

The clues include “the misspelling of omicron as ‘omicorn’ and unusual syntax,” the website adds.

A spokesperson for the UK’s fraud and cybercrime reporting centre Action Fraud told Full Fact: “If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to report@phishing.gov.uk.

“Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726 which is free of charge.

“If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.”