Samantha Rickwood, a mental health nurse in London, was tricked into handing over her cash through this scam and has now issued a warning to others. Here’s what to look out for
A nurse has explained how she lost £2,000 after falling victim to a convincing NHS Covid text scam.
The fake message sees fraudsters trick people into believing they need to pay for a PCR test. The person is sent a link, which they’re instructed to click on and enter their details.
But after handling over their personal information, the victims are then contacted by the scammers, who pretend to be from their bank.
The fraudsters tell the unsuspecting person they’ve been scammed and that they must move their savings into a “safe account” – but this is actually a trick designed to steal your money.
Samantha Rickwood, 41, a mental health nurse in London, was conned into parting with her cash through this scam and has now issued a warning to others.
As she had recently come into contact with someone with Covid, and had actually ordered a PCR test lately, Samantha believed the message was genuine.
People who clicked on the link have reported that the website looks just like the NHS website.
“I am a mental health nurse working for the NHS. I clicked on the link as I had come into contact with someone and paid for a PCR test,” she told The Mirror.
Have you lost money through the same NHS Covid text scam? Let us know: email@example.com
“I am usually switched on to these messages and never click on them, let alone input my bank details.”
Samantha described how she clicked on the link, then the next day received a call from a “convincing man” who claimed to be from her bank.
He had retrieved her details from the information she had put into the website from the link and like other victims, told her she needed to set up a “safe account”.
The scammer then asked for her card details to transfer the money across, before stealing £2,079.98 – her wages after just being paid.
“On reflection it was not a smart move but he was very convincing and sent a text claiming to be from my bank which he said to input into my online banking,” she said.
“I had just been paid that day. He then said he would call back later to check my ‘safe account’ was safe and told me never to click on bogus text messages.
“I was apologizing to him for being so careless! He then called back later to check my account was ‘safe’ and took the money – all my wages whilst on the phone – I still didn’t twig.
“He reassured me that I would be refunded. After the phone call I started to finally get suspicious and called my bank who explained they would never ask me to transfer money and that I indeed had been scammed.”
Samantha was able to get her money back after contacting Monzo and is now urging other people not to fall for the same scam.
If you receive one of these messages, do not click on the link and never enter any personal information on a website you do not trust.
If you do click on it and are worried you’ve handed over sensitive details, contact your bank immediately and change your passwords.
The NHS has stopped people that free PCR tests have generally, and that the NHS would never ask for your bank details.
Most phone providers are part of a scheme that allows customers to report suspicious text messages for free by forwarding it to 7726.
alternatively, you can take a screenshot of the text and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a message posted to Twitter last week, it said: “Beware of fake NHS text messages telling you that you’ve been in close contact with someone who has the Omicron variant.
“We never ask for bank details–please be aware of suspicious messages with links to fake websites.”