Covid levels are on the rise again as Britain heads towards a hard winter, but as we find ourselves becoming more conscious of spreading the virus again, the prevalence of Covid related scams will also undoubtedly increase.

With an estimated 857,400 people with the virus in the week ending 17 September – up from 766,500 the week before – one can certainly be forgiven for taking a message from the NHS seriously.

But as scams become increasingly harder to discern from the real thing, there are a few tell-tale signs to keep yourself safe.

Perhaps the easiest way to spot a scam is to look at the link included in the message. Real NHS messages use the link, which, of course, is not where scammers are looking to send their victims. Instead, scam messages often use a link that includes “/nhs” at the end.

Likewise, NHS text messages should only come from “NHS” or “NHSvaccine” – never from a mobile number.

If you don’t spot the scam at first, keep in mind that the NHS no longer distributes Covid tests; even if the website only asks for a small delivery charge, it is not genuine. If you need a lateral flow test, you can order them here.

You can report a scam message here.