HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Pennsylvania departments of Health and Aging warned Pennsylvanians about contact tracing scams and emphasized the need to stay alert as COVID-19 remains a threat in our communities.
Scams might include a caller asking for someone’s Social Security number or payment for tracing services – neither of which are ever a component of a contact tracing inquiry.
Across the state, the goal is that within 24 hours of receiving the positive result reported, trained public health staff conduct an interview for a case investigation with the newly confirmed COVID-19 case to obtain a list of close contacts they had while infectious.
A contact tracer may ask:
- For verification of your date of birth, address, and any other phone numbers you may have; and
- If you have already tested positive for COVID-19 they may also ask for the date and location of where you were tested.
A contact tracer will never ask for:
- Your social security number, financial or bank account information, or personal details unrelated to your potential exposure to someone with COVID-19;
- Personal information through SMS/text message or send you to any website link asking for personal information;
- Photographs or videos of any kind;
- Passwords; or
- Money or payment.
A contact tracer will never share your information with any local, state or federal law enforcement agency.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Aging Robert Torres noted that older adults are at particular risk of being victims of this insidious type of scam.
“Scammers prefer to prey on individuals who may be more trusting, are alone, or may respond out of confusion or fear,” said Sec. Torres. “COVID-19 has isolated many older adults from family and other supports. Therefore, it’s understandable that an older adult, hearing that they may have been exposed, would want to cooperate with any effort to protect themselves or a loved one. However, it’s important that they stay alert about any contact from anyone identifying themselves as a contact tracer and do not provide personal information until they are sure the individual and information are legitimate.”
Pennsylvanians are reminded that mask-wearing is required when visiting businesses or in any setting outside the home where social distancing is difficult. Remember: My mask protects you; your mask protects me.