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Scam Alert: Don't Fall for Phony Contact Tracers

Scam Alert: Don't Fall for Phony Contact Tracers

| December 04, 2020
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The pandemic has given rise to a number of new scams designed to part you from your money. One of the latest involves phony contact tracers. While contact tracing is considered an important tool for helping to contain the spread of COVID-19 in communities, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns of a growing trend where scammers are pretending to be contact tracers.

How It Works

According to complaints received by the FTC, as well as a number of state and city officials throughout the country, a typical scam may unfold as follows:

  • You receive a call from someone claiming to be a local public health worker, saying that you have been in close proximity to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and that you need to self-isolate and take a test. The caller refuses to identify the person who had tested positive, citing “confidentiality.”

  • The caller then requests that you provide some form of payment to cover the cost of mailing a COVID-19 test kit to you. The scammer instills a sense of urgency by claiming you must comply within a stated time period or face penalties for non-compliance.

How to Avoid the Scam

According to the FTC, legitimate contract tracers may ask you for your name, address, health information and the names of people and places you have visited. The agency says real contact tracers need health information, not money or personal financial information. The FTC offers the following tips for avoiding phony contact tracers:

  1. Real contact tracers won’t ask you for money. Only scammers insist on payment by gift card, money transfer, or cryptocurrency.

  2. Your immigration status doesn’t matter for contact tracing, so real tracers won’t ask. If they do, you can bet it’s a scam.

  3. Contact tracing doesn’t require your bank account or credit card number. Never share account information with anybody who contacts you asking for it.

  4. Legitimate contact tracers will never ask for your Social Security number. Never give any part of your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you.

  5. Do not click on a link in a text or email. Doing so can download malware onto your device.

For more information about contact tracing in your area, visit Florida's health department website.

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For additional ways to protect yourself from scams as well as your online information, contact us to learn more about our FiscaleFit Go Pro with ID360°.

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