Listen to Lawrence…How to spot a Covid-19 Contact Tracing Scam
September 17, 2020
Dear clients and friends:
Since I just recently wrote about the title theft scam, I thought I’d keep the theme going with the following article which was featured on a recent newsletter called, “The Alert for Members” on the Blue Cross/Blue Shield website. I wanted to pass it on because we should all be aware of the latest scams.
How to spot a COVID-19 contact tracing scam
Scammers are up to new tricks amid the coronavirus pandemic. Now they’re posing as contact tracers.
To be crystal clear, contact tracing is a real thing—it’s when someone from a health department uses phone calls and other means of communication to identify those who may have been exposed to COVID-19.
Contact tracing is one of the best tools we have to help slow the spread of the virus. Sadly, scammers are pretending to be contact tracers too. They may try to steal your identity and your money, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Detect a contact tracing scam
A real contact tracer may contact you or someone you know who has tested positive for COVID-19. They may ask about your health information and the places you’ve been. And they may instruct you to quarantine and monitor your symptoms.
But the FTC reminds us that a real contact tracer would never ask you for the following things, which they do not need:
- Your money. Scammers might ask you to make a payment by gift card, for instance.
- Your bank account or credit card numbers.
- Your Social Security number.
- Your immigration status, which has nothing to do with contact tracing.
Never share personal information like this with anyone who claims to be a contact tracer.
You should also watch out for any text message that includes a link. Do not click on or tap the link. Doing so could put harmful software on your device. Real contact tracers may send you texts or emails—but only to notify you that they’ll be calling you soon. They will never ask you to click on or download anything.
If you suspect a scam
If you suspect a fake contact tracer, hang up the phone or ignore their text message or email.
Next, you can report the fake tracer to the FTC. Go to ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
If you aren’t sure if the contact tracer is real, you can contact your state health department. Do not call any phone numbers or visit any websites listed in the suspicious text message.
I hope this helps.
Please forward this information to your friends and relatives.
As always, please send me your questions. If you are thinking about it, others are probably too, so my answers will no doubt help you and many others.
Let’s stay connected.
LISTEN TO LAWRENCE