Officials are warning the public about con artists who have been taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to try to trick Los Angeles County residents into giving up personal information by falsely posing as contact tracers researching coronavirus cases.
“Criminals are finding new ways to cash in on the coronavirus pandemic,” the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office said Friday in a written statement.
In these scams, the callers claim to be collecting information on the pandemic, but then ask for money or information such as Social Security numbers, financial information, immigration status and other sensitive information that has nothing to do with COVID-19, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
“Victims have been contacted through telephone calls, text messages and email,” the statement said.
Authorities in Pasadena issued a similar warning.
“Contact tracers will only ask questions related to COVID-19 and slowing the spread,” city officials said in a written statement. “If you believe you have been the victim or target of a scam related to COVID-19, immediately file a complaint at http://oag.ca.gov/report.”
The District Attorney’s Office added that real contact tracers will not ask for money or for personal information other than a person’s name and date of birth.
Anyone skeptical about whether they’re dealing with a genuine contact tracer can contact their local health department directly, officials said.
And as always, “Be wary of any links or attachments in emails or text messages,” according to the statement.
Additional information about COVID-19 contact tracing can be found online at covid19.ca.gov/contact-tracing
The Pasadena Public Health Department can be reached at (626) 744-6000.
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