SCAMMERS have been using a fake Scottish Government Test and Protect message to con people into handing over personal details.

The ruse has already been going on for months in England and Wales and was first reported in May, mimicking the UK Government’s Test and Trace system.

Unsuspecting members of the public receive texts informing them that they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, along with a link to a bogus website asking for personal details of the user.

The fraud has now been adapted to replicate the Scottish equivalent, with WhatsApp messages from unknown numbers asking people to message back, and then requesting personal details which could be used for identity theft.

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has issued a warning describing the scam as ‘sickening’.

CTSI Lead Officer, Katherine Hart, said: “CTSI uncovered evidence of this scam operating in England and Wales which is sadly still ongoing. Now it has crossed the border and is also targeting the public throughout Scotland.

“It sickens me that fraudsters are targeting vulnerable communities across the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A genuine contact tracer will never ask for personal details such as your bank account and medical records, and they certainly won’t try to sell you anything.

“These kinds of messages have appeared as both regular text messages and WhatsApp messages.

“Please do not respond to them.”

A spokesman for the NHS said: “We’ve been made aware of a text message scam circulating, where messengers are posing as Test and Protect contact tracers are getting in touch with people and asking them to reply to the message and self-isolate immediately.

“This is not a genuine message from our Test and Protect team.”