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Our worlds are inundated with Coronavirus news and information. It is easy to zone out and let information go in one ear and out the other. However, when you don’t process all of the information directed at you, it’s possible to let your guard down. If you don’t watch out for COVID19 contact tracing scams, you could have your identity stolen before you even know it. 

What Is A Contact Tracer?

A contact tracer is an employee of a state’s health department. Contact tracers are charged with the task of tracking individuals who are infected with COVID19 and those they may have come into contact with. A contact tracer will notify individuals that they may have come in to contact with an infected individual and they also work to ensure the infected follow quarantining guidelines.

If you’ve recently taken a COVID19 test, a contact tracer may contact you to discuss your results or to inform you that someone you know has tested positive. Some of the information a legitimate contact tracer may ask for includes:

  • People/Places you have visited
  • Name/Address
  • Your health information

Anyone asking for anything above and beyond the information above should draw an immediate red flag. 

How To Spot A Contact Tracing Scam

If you are contacted by someone claiming to be a contact tracer with your state’s health department, listen very carefully to the information they ask you for. Below are a few ways to protect yourself from a fraudulent contact tracer.

  • Never give a contact tracer money. A legitimate contact tracer would never ask you for money. Also, a tip for avoiding scams in general: anyone asking you to pay in gift cards, cryptocurrency or money orders/wire transfers is most likely a scam.
  • Do not provide your bank account or credit card information. Contact tracers have no need for any of your financial information.
  • Your immigration status is irrelevant. If someone claiming to be a contact tracer mentions your status as a citizen, hang up the phone.
  • Never provide your Social Security number. Contact tracers do not need your Social Security number. In fact, you should never give your SS# to anyone who contacts you out of the blue. Only provide sensitive information to 100% trusted individuals/entities.
  • Never click a link in an email or text. You risk downloading a virus or malware to your computer or device.

If you keep an eye out for the warning signs mentioned in this article you’re doing your best to watch out for COVID19 contact tracing scams. With so many out of work, you really must keep your guard up because scammers are out in full force.   

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