Scammers portraying contact tracers | News | #coronavirus | #scams | #covid19

Residents are being warned of a scam involving persons impersonating contact tracers, county and local officials tasked with notifying those who have been in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

When someone has tested positive for the virus, a contact tracer will try to locate and notify all those who have been in contact during the infectious period, so that they may get tested and quarantine to prevent spreading the virus.

In Los Angeles County, public health specialists will call the infected person, leaving a call back number if necessary. The information is protected and can not be shared except in an emergency, officials said.  

The governor’s Office of Emergency Services has tips to spot a scam contact tracer.

Legitimate tracers will never ask for a Social Security number, and will not ask for payment, bank account or credit card numbers.

Immigration status does not matter for contact tracing, so legitimate tracers will not ask about it. If you are asked about your immigration status, it is a scam.

Legitimate tracers will also contact by phone, not email. As a rule, it is good to be wary of suspicious email, text messages and phone calls, officials said. Do not click on links or attachments.

The Los Angeles County Public Health Department is ramping up its contact tracing efforts as the number of positive cases of COVID-19 have increased.

Currently, there are more than 1,500 trained contract tracers in the department, up from about 200 staff who did such work for other infectious diseases prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to public health officials.

Regularly, the department tracks contacts for tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases, measles and others.

There is a hotline for confirmed COVID-19 cases. If you tested positive and have not yet connected with Public Health Department specialists, or need additional information, call the COVID-19 Case Info Line at 1-833-540-0473.

Residents who have not tested positive for the virus and need additional information should call 211.

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