The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) is warning contractors about unsolicited calls by individuals claiming to be from the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) and later requesting bank details.

Several community pharmacy contractors have notified the negotiator about false calls claiming to be from the NHSBSA investigations team, the NHS body responsible for processing prescription items.

Requesting personal details

To appear legitimate, the callers have been quoting the unique identifying code for pharmacies (the ODS code, which can be found in online reports), names of company directors (which can also be found online, from Companies House) and other pharmacy details, before explaining that there has been a problem with payments to the pharmacy.

The callers go on to request personal details from the contractor, such as mobile phone number, date of birth, address and – critically – business bank account details, according to PSNC.

The NHSBSA has confirmed to PSNC that no member of its team will ever contact a contractor directly and ask for account details in this way.

If you are concerned about whether a call you receive really is from the NHSBSA, you can ask for the name of the individual and tell them you will call them back on the official NHSBSA Prescription Services phone number (0300 330 1349), which can also be found on the back of the Drug Tariff.

Fake texts

The phone conversation may also be followed with a text message, claiming to be from the contractor’s bank and providing a phone number for them to call, PSNC said.

PSNC warned pharmacists never to do this, as calling the number provides a further opportunity for the fraudsters to obtain details that can be used to access their bank account.

Anyone who receives such a call should report it to the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre, Action Fraud, on 0300 123 2040.

Protecting yourself from fraud

Action Fraud said some type of fraud affects one in four small business each year and provide recommendations for protecting yourself from scams.

It’s important to carry out regular checks of data governance, work with other businesses when a threat emerges and utilise the skills of industry networks and specialist fraud providers.

Check out The Pharmacist’s series on online attacks for more tips on avoiding fraud.