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Scam alert: New scam takes advantage of COVID-19 contact tracing initiatives | #coronavirus | #scams | #covid19


By June 9, 2020 8:58 am

ARLINGTON COUNTY, Va (CLARKSVILLENOW) – As public health experts work to develop new methods of contact tracing to combat COVID-19, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns citizens to be wary of a new scam.

How does it work?

The BBB has received reports of people receiving unsolicited messages via text, email and messenger apps warning them that they have supposedly been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

The recipient is then asked to click on a link for more information; however, the link actually downloads malware to the victim’s device.

Another form of this scam employs automated calls claiming to be part of a contact tracing effort. As with the first scam, the call informs the victim that they have been exposed to COVID-19  and will need to speak to a ‘representative.’ The victim is then asked to verify their information, including things like their name, phone number and social security number.

How to know if a contact tracer is really a scammer:

  • A contact tracer may ask you to confirm your identity, but will never ask for financial information. They will not ask for Government ID’s or bank numbers.
  • Contact Tracers will identify themselves, providing their name as well as the the organization they are calling from.
  • Most contact tracing is performed over the phone. Be cautious of texts, emails and other messages.
  • A real contact tracer will never reveal the identity of the individual that tested positive.
  • Double check the URL. Scammers will often purchase URL’s similar to the group they are pretending to be. If the message claims to be from the government, check and see if the URL has a ‘.gov’ at the end. Is everything in the URL spelled correctly?

If you believe you have been targeted by a contact tracing scam, end the call and cease communication with the suspected scammer.

To learn more about scams related to the coronavirus and how to protect yourself from them, see these BBB Tips on COVID-19. To read up on some general tips for avoiding scams, visit BBB.org/AvoidScams.

If you’ve been the victim of a coronavirus related scam, please report it on  BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others to stay alert and avoid similar scams.



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