Scammers Are Targeting COVID-19 Contact Tracing Efforts

How to keep yourself safe

George J. Ziogas

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Image: kentoh/Adobe Stock

The novel coronavirus dubbed COVID-19 is perhaps the most communicable disease the world has seen in nearly a century. Given the easy transmissibility of the illness, contact tracing has taken on a new significance.

If you were exposed to someone who later tested positive for COVID-19, you’d want to know about it. That early warning could be key to protecting yourself and your family members, and once you know, you can schedule your own test and impose your own household lockdown.

Contact tracing is obviously an important part of COVID-19 mitigation efforts, but there’s a growing problem that could jeopardize those efforts. Scammers are now targeting the contact tracing process, preying on the confusion and misinformation that surrounds the novel coronavirus.

So how do you know if the person claiming to be a contact tracer is legitimate, and that they’re not simply trying to steal your personal information and separate you from your hard-earned money?

Here are some key things to watch out for when contact tracers come calling.

The Vast Majority of Contact Tracing Takes Place on the Phone

You should immediately be suspicious of contact tracing outreach that takes place via email or text message. The vast majority of contact tracing efforts are done over the phone, and very few legitimate agencies use email or text messages for their initial outreach.

Even if you think the contact tracing email or text message may be legitimate, you should never click any embedded links. These links could harbor malware and viruses designed to steal your private information.

Contact Tracers Will Not Mention COVID-19 Patients by Name

In an effort to gain your trust, the scammers may tell you that a close family member or friend has tested positive for COVID-19, and that you should immediately schedule a test for the virus.

That kind of news is certainly alarming, but it’s likely not real. There are strict privacy laws in place surrounding healthcare and medical diagnoses, and…

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George J. Ziogas

Manners will take you where money won’t | HR Consultant | OHS Specialist | Personal Trainer | ziogasjgeorge@gmail.com