An alert is being sounded over a potential scam linked to the NHS Test and Trace system.
Middlesbrough Council's Public Protection Service is warning residents to be on their guard over the attempt to con people out of cash or personal details.
The move follows worried members of the public contacting the Trading Standards team over calls and texts received regarding Covid-19 test.
Anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19 can expect to be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and they may also receive a call from the Council's Public Protection Service who investigate cases where there could be links to public venues or an outbreak linked to a workplace.
Both NHS Test and Trace and the Council's team will already have the personal information provided by the individual when they were tested and they will not ask for these details again.
The only additional information requested will be details of close contacts who will need to be spoken to about in relation self-isolation and details of any places visited in the days before symptoms started.
The scammers claim to be from NHS Test and Trace team and they will try to say that you have been in contact with someone with coronavirus and that you need to self-isolate and take a test, or if you tell them you have taken a test they may ask you to arrange another test.
They then ask for bank details to take payment for the testing kit - however testing at NHS Covid-19 test sites and home testing kits are free to everyone.
Anyone who is asked for financial information is advised to hang up immediately and report the call to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Calls from NHS Test and Trace will come from 0300 013 5000.
If you are contacted by the Council's Public Protection Service and you are not sure about this you can phone 01642 728272 or email EHTS@middlesbrough.gov.uk to check the person calling you is genuine.
Remember, contact tracers will never:
- ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product or any kind
- ask for any details about your bank account
- ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
- ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
- disclose any of personal or medical information to your contacts
- ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
- ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS
Councillor Dorothy Davison, Middlesbrough Council's Executive member for Adult Social Care & Public Health, said: "It beggars belief, but there are those who are willing to take advantage of a global crisis to swindle the vulnerable of their savings and personal details.
"We all have duty to look out for one another, and to be on our guard against such unscrupulous people who really are beneath contempt.
"I would reiterate the most important advice - the real NHS Test and Trace team will never ask you to pay for any service and will never ask for bank details."
For more advice on this or any other scam, contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.