To help understand and slow the spread of COVID-19, state health departments are "tracing" people who were in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Once identified, contact tracers can then advise those who may have been exposed to monitor their symptoms and stay at home, keeping our communities safe. Unfortunately, due to its complexity, contact tracing has become the new target for those looking to take advantage and make a profit. Text messages, emails, and phone calls with alarming language, links, and requests for personal data are sent by scammers claiming to be contact tracers. Fortunately, there is a way to identify a contact tracer from a scammer. Actual contact tracers will only send you a text message or email to notify you that they will be calling you. During the phone call, they may request your name and address, health information, places you’ve recently visited, or people you’ve been in contact with. If someone requests any of the following information, they may be a scammer:
- Requests that you pay them to get more information or services
- Asks for personal information including your social security number, credit card details or bank account information
- Sends a text or email with a link or attachment that downloads malware which can swipe your phone for personal information or send you to a phishing site that has you fill in your personal information including passwords
To further prevent scammers from accessing your personal information, make sure to set up two-factor authentication on as many online accounts as possible. If you come in contact with a scammer posing as a contact tracer, don’t respond. Hang up or close the door. Then report it to your local law enforcement and submit a complaint to FTC.gov/complaint. Doing this will help prevent others from being fooled by scammers.
To learn more about frauds, scams, and identity theft, visit MaricopaCountyAttorney.org/ScamsAndFraud