Florida AG warns of contact tracing scams

Author: CBS Miami; Rich Kolko/WINK News
Published: Updated:
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. Credit: via WINK News.

Florida residents are being urged to use caution when answering a call from someone who says they are doing COVID-19 contact tracing.

State Attorney General Ashley Moody said scammers are now using this ruse to get personnel information from the people they call.

“Unfortunately, we can’t trust the voice on the other end of the phone to always be truthful—even in the face of a deadly pandemic, said Moody in a statement. “I want to encourage all Floridians to engage with legitimate health professionals working to contain the spread of COVID-19, but to be cautious before providing information.”

To slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, state public health professionals are calling Floridians who may have come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. But Floridians need to take steps to verify that the call is from the local county health department before providing information.

“If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you will be asked by an epidemiologist from your county health department about everyone you’ve come in contact with over the last two weeks,” Moody said. “The epidemiologist will talk to each person and ask them about their health. But they will never ask for your Social Security number or financial information.”

Signs that a call from someone claiming to be a contact tracer is a scam include:

  • Requesting a Social Security number, bank account information, or some type of payment.
  • Asking for a birth date. Legitimate contact tracers should already know this information for the individual they are calling and should only ask the individual to verify the information.
  • Disclosing the identity of the COVID-19 positive individual who reportedly may have spread the virus. An authorized contact tracer will never disclose the identity of the person who tested positive.

To report contact tracing scams or any other COVID-19 related fraud, contact the Florida Attorney General’s Office by calling (866) 9NO-SCAM or visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.

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