Contact tracing has been a key component in the fight against the novel coronavirus. Contract tracing involves letting people know if they may have been exposed to COVID-19, helping these people get tested for coronavirus, and asking people to self-isolate if they have COVID-19 or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19.
For the most part, contact tracing calls are a legitimate measure necessary to help contain the virus. However, scammers are in on the importance of contact tracing and have devised fraudulent ways to ask unsuspecting Americans for money and sensitive personal information. That’s why it’s crucial that you recognize the warning signs of a scam contact tracing call.
If you’re dealing with a legitimate contact tracer, you can expect them to ask for the following information:
• For your name and address.
• For your date of birth. If you feel uncomfortable answering that, tell them your age, instead.
• For your whereabouts on certain dates, errands you ran, stores or businesses you visited, etc.
• Questions about your health and whether you’ve experienced any symptoms.
However, a legitimate contact tracer will not:
• Ask for your Medicare, Medicaid, or insurance policy number.
• Inquire about your immigration status.
• Ask for your Social Security number.
• Ask for a financial account number or request payment.
• Tell you who among your contacts has tested positive for COVID-19.
• Threaten you.
• Ask you to fill out an online application to be a contact tracer, too.
If you encounter someone asking this type of information from you, hang up and report the phone call. You can report the scammer by calling your state attorney general’s office or health department. If you believe you have mistakenly given out sensitive information, be sure to call the affiliated business and report the incident. For example, if you gave out your banking account number, call your bank, and if your health insurance accounts may be compromised, call your insurance provider.
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