You’ve probably been hearing a lot about contact tracing. It’s the process of identifying people who have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, instructing them to quarantine, and monitoring their symptoms daily. Contact tracers are usually hired by a state’s department of public health. They work with an infected person to get the names and phone numbers for everyone that infected person came in close contact with while they were possibly infectious. Those names and phone numbers are often kept in a secure online system.
Why we’re concerned …
Scams are now being reported where criminals are posing as contact tracers.
Here’s what you may see from these scammers:
- Texts saying that you may have come into contact with someone who tested positive AND that contain instructions to click on a link
- Any texts received from a legitimate tracer WILL NOT ASK YOU TO CLICK ON A LINK.
- Phone calls from someone saying the same thing, and then asking you for some personal/financial information
- Any tracer who calls will not ask for personal information like a Social Security number, and they won’t ask you for money or your bank account or credit card information.
Legitimate contact from a tracer …
People who may have had contact with someone infected with COVID-19 may first get a text message from the health department, telling them they’ll get a call from a specific number. At the end of the call, that person may be asked if they would like to enroll in a text message program, which sends daily health and safety reminders until the 14-day quarantine ends.
If you are in doubt as to who is contacting you, contact your state’s Department of Health directly.
More information on NY contact tracing can be found here:
New York: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/new-york-state-contact-tracing