Scam warning over fake NHS calls

Emma Woollacott
portrait of worried elderly...
portrait of worried elderly...

The NHS is warning people to be on their guard after reports that scammers are pretending to be calling from local GPs' surgeries.

NHS Scotland says that a number of people have had calls asking about their medical conditions and the medication they've been prescribed - and then recommending herbal treatments instead.

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The scam's been reported in several Scottish districts, where the fraudsters have been asking for credit card details in order to pay for the treatments. In one case, they pretended to be from the Inverurie Health Centre.

"We would never ask our patients for their bank or credit card details over the phone. Please never give personal or banking details to anyone," practice manager Eunice Ross tells the Evening Express.

"If you are visited or called by an individual you don't know or you aren't expecting, please do not give any medical or financial information without checking their identity with the surgery, clinic or social work department."

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The scammers may well be the same people that, last summer, were using a less sophisticated technique to try and scam NHS users out of their bank details.

In one case, a woman had a lucky escape after becoming suspicious about a 'special health promotion' for glucosamine.

"First he was asking if my health was good and what exercises had I been doing," Elizabeth Allan, of Cambuslang, tells the Daily Record. "Then he asked my age and I thought that was dodgy, because if it was really the NHS then they should have that information already."

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So far, the scam has only been reported in Scotland, but NHS users around the country should be on their guard.

"Please be advised that under no circumstances would the NHS or any company we work with be advising patients to buy herbal medication rather than what they have already been prescribed," says NHS Highland.

"If anyone contacts you trying to do this do not engage, hang up the call and alert the NHS Counter Fraud team. The NHS Counter Fraud team can be contacted on 0800 015 1628."