Skip to main content

Beware! Omicron PCR test email scam tricks users and steals personal data

PSA: Turn off email tracking — here's how
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With the spread of COVID-19 variant Omicron making headlines, scammers are taking advantage of the new pandemic development by offering a "free Omicron PCR test" in a wave of phishing emails.  

The fake email, impersonating the UK's National Health Service (NHS), claims to offer users a free Omicron PCR test that has been created as the "new variant appears dormant in the original test kits." This is a false claim, but the phishing email tricks users by including an official NHS logo, a seemingly authentic email address, and a link to a copycat NHS website. 

Spotted by UK organisation Which?, the emails come from a near-identical email address (contact-nhs[AT]nhscontact.com) and lead to a fake website (healt-service-nh.com). According to the report, the website asks for a user's full name, date of birth, address, mobile, and email address in order to request an Omicron PCR test kit.

What's worse, the fake website also asks for financial information in order to pay the delivery fee. This includes a £1.24 charge, but providing your bank account details gives scammers access to a lot more. The website even asks for your mother's maiden name; a common security question for bank accounts. 

(Image credit: Which?)

The organization has already contacted the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) about the Omicron phishing emails, but it's best to keep an eye out for other suspicious email activity. You can always check with your health service before clicking on any internal links in emails, especially if they come into your inbox randomly.

As the pandemic continues, other brands are making it easier to show your COVID-19 vaccination cards when needed. Here's how to add your vaccine card to Samsung Pay, along with how to add a vaccine card to Apple Wallet.

If you're sick of phishing emails and scams, it may be a good idea to turn off email tracking