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Don’t Get Scammed: How to Tell a Real Contact Tracing Call

Contract tracers say it’s not always easy to get people who have tested positive for COVID-19 to share where they’ve been. For a variety of reasons, infected people don’t want to talk, according to a recent report in The New York Times. A new warning from the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Aging isn’t going to help.

Both departments say Pennsylvanians should be wary of contact-tracing scams. The most obvious signal is if a caller purporting to be a contact tracer asks for your Social Security number.

According to a press release by the state health department:

A contact tracer may ask:

  1. For verification of your date of birth, address, and phone numbers.

  2. 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:

  1. Your Social Security number, financial or bank account information, or personal details unrelated to your potential exposure to someone with COVID-19.

  2. Personal information through SMS/text message or send you to any website link asking for personal information.

  3. Photographs or videos of any kind.

  4. Passwords.

  5. Money or payment.

In addition, a contact tracer will never share your information with any local, state or federal law enforcement agency. “Contact-tracing is vital in the state’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and we want Pennsylvanians to be confident that if they receive a call from a contact-tracer that the call is legitimate,” says Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. “If someone is unsure and would like to verify if the caller does in fact work in contact tracing, they can call the PA Department of Health at 1-877-PA HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) to verify.”


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