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Coronavirus News: Scammers posing as COVID-19 contact tracers jeopardize program | #coronavirus | #scams | #covid19


SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — It’s one of the greatest hopes for stopping the spread of coronavirus: contact tracing. Health workers across the state are calling people who were exposed to the virus – and directing them to quarantine. But now, officials warn imposters are out there too.

This has posed a dilemma for the contact tracing program. On the one hand, officials are urging all of us to respond when health workers call.

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On the other hand, they’re warning us it may be a scammer. So how can you tell the difference?

If someone you know has come down with COVID-19, you may be getting a call from the public health department.

It’s called contact tracing — health workers calling everyone who came in close contact with a COVID-19 patient.

Doctor Darpun Dachdev of San Francisco’s public health department says these calls are vital to stopping the spread.

“We want to identify all of the people that may have been in contact with the individual who was contagious. Close contact is defined as coming within six feet for more than 10 minutes. We ask them about whether or not they’re experiencing symptoms, link them to testing and inform them to quarantine for 14 days,” he says.

The only problem? Bad guys know that too.

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Law enforcement officials across the country tell us this scam is just beginning — imposters out there pretending to be contact tracers.

“I don’t want our residents to be victimized, but we do want them to respond to legitimate contact tracers,” says Mike Feuer, Los Angeles City Attorney.

So how can you tell the difference?

Real contact tracers will tell you you’ve been exposed, ask about any symptoms, help you get tested for free and tell you to quarantine for two weeks.

They may also offer to deliver groceries and medicine during your quarantine.

Real contact tracers also will be texting you for two weeks to ask about your health and symptoms.

“They never will ask for bank account info or Social Security number or other personal ID info that could give rise to someone losing their money. As soon as the conversation drifts to that, I strongly urge residents to hang up the phone,” says Feuer.

Here’s what to remember:

  • Contact tracers will never ask you for money.
  • They will never charge fees for testing or any other services.
  • And they will never ask about your immigration status.
  • You should “never” give out your bank account number, Social Security number or any personal data.
  • Never click on a link a scammer may send to your phone or email.

Also remember, scammers may be using fake caller ID to make it look like they are from the health department. If you have doubts, hang up and call the health department directly.

ALAMEDA
General Health Department:
http://www.acphd.org/
510-267-8000

COVID-19 info page: http://www.acphd.org/2019-ncov.aspx

CONTRA COSTA
General Health Department:
https://cchealth.org/
925-313-6740

COVID-19 info page: https://www.coronavirus.cchealth.org/
Contact tracing information: https://www.coronavirus.cchealth.org/contact-tracing

STATEMENT FROM THE CONTRA COSTA COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT:
In Contra Costa County we do have a brief online FAQ and also a graphic that helps explain what the contact tracer will do or say when they call. To verify the caller was from Contra Costa County, email us at cocohelp@cchealth.org or call 925-313-6740 — after selecting a language option, press 1 for COVID-related inquiry, then press 3 if you received a letter or call from us and would like to speak with someone in our Communicable Disease program.

MARIN
General Health Department:

https://www.marinhhs.org/
415-473-7191

COVID-19 info page: https://coronavirus.marinhhs.org/

NAPA
General Health Department:
https://www.countyofnapa.org/156/HHSA
Public Information & Support: 707-253-4540 (Monday – Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

COVID-19 info page: https://www.countyofnapa.org/2739/Coronavirus

SAN FRANCISCO
General Health Department:
https://www.sfdph.org/dph/default.asp
415-554-2500

COVID-19 info page: https://www.sfdph.org/dph/alerts/coronavirus.asp

Here are numbers San Francisco residents can call to ascertain they’re talking to a legitimate contact tracer:
For people who test positive, call 415-554-2830, select option 1, then option 2
For people notified about exposure to COVID-19, call 415-651-3641

SAN MATEO
General Health Department:
https://www.smchealth.org/
650-573-2222

COVID-19 info page: https://www.smchealth.org/coronavirus

SANTA CLARA
General Health Department:
https://www.sccgov.org/sites/phd/Pages/phd.aspx
408-792-5050

COVID-19 info page: https://www.sccgov.org/sites/covid19/Pages/home.aspx
Contact tracing information: https://www.sccgov.org/sites/covid19/Pages/contact-tracing.aspx

STATEMENT FROM THE SANTA CLARA COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT:
The County of Santa Clara works diligently to ensure the privacy and security of our residents and any information provided as a result of COVID-19. We will identify ourselves, explain the purpose of the call and what to expect, and only ask the very minimum information required for your health and to support your needs for isolating and quarantining. We will never ask for your social security number, any financial information (Bank account numbers, bank names, etc)., passwords, city of birth, prior names, past addresses, or your immigration status.

SOLANO
General Health Department:
http://www.solanocounty.com/depts/ph/default.asp
707-784-8600

COVID-19 info page: http://www.solanocounty.com/depts/ph/coronavirus.asp

707-784-8988 COVID-19 “warmline”

SONOMA
General Health Department:
https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Health-Services/
707-565-4700

COVID-19 info page: https://socoemergency.org/

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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