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How to Avoid Contact Tracing Scams

With COVID-19 still a concern, you’ve probably heard about contact tracing. Local and state health departments use contact tracing as a system of identifying people who have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, contacting the exposed individual, and instructing them to quarantine and monitor for symptoms. 

Although contact tracing has been a helpful tool in keeping people informed and safe, it has also created another opportunity for scammers to try to obtain your personal information. 

Depending on how your state has set up its program, legitimate contact tracers may call, email, text, or in some instances, visit your home to collect information. They may ask you for:

  • your name and address
  • general health information
  • the names of places and people you have visited

It’s important to know that contact tracers will not ask you for your Social Security number, bank account information, credit card number, or other financial information. 

The Federal Trade Commission offers some information on how to protect yourself from fake contact tracers.

  • Don’t pay a contact tracer. Anyone who says you need to pay is a scammer, plain and simple. 
  • Don’t give your Social Security number or financial information. There is no reason for a legitimate contact tracer to need your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number. 
  • Don’t share your immigration status. Legitimate contact tracers don’t need this information and won’t ask for it.

If you think you are dealing with a fake contact tracer, hang up, close the door, or don’t respond to anything that may be in an email or text. Check with your state health department to see if they can verify that you were on the contact list. 

Source: Federal Trade Commission and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


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