People are being warned to be on their guard against scammers posing as NHS contact tracers.
Local councils in England and Wales have issued alerts following reports of bogus calls and messages asking for money to cover the cost of coronavirus testing kits.
The councils include Hampshire, Bath and North East Somerset, and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.
Official tracers will never ask for payment of any kind or bank details.
The test and trace system is part of the government’s efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus, with contact tracers getting in touch with those who have had recent close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
However, a number of fraudsters are using this to their advantage and posing as contact tracers to deceive people into parting with money or personal details.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said the “ruthless scam” was “another worrying and sickening attempt to trick people out of their money by preying on the public’s fears”.
A recent survey by Citizens Advice found more than one in three people in the UK have been targeted in various scams since lockdown began.
Chairman of the LGA’s safer and stronger communities board, Simon Blackburn, said the latest scam to come to light undermined “vital work to save lives by exploiting people who want to do the right thing and stop the spread of the virus”.