State leaders warn of fake COVID-19 contact tracing calls | #coronavirus | #scams | #covid19

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – To slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, state public health professionals are calling Floridians who may have come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

These “contact tracing” calls are an extremely vital tool in the state’s effort to contain the spread of the virus, Attorney General Ashley Moody said.

But, Moody warned, there are some scammers trying to take advantage of unsuspecting Floridians to steal personal information.

“Unfortunately, we can’t trust the voice on the other end of the phone to always be truthful—even in the face of a deadly pandemic,” Moody said. “I want to encourage all Floridians to engage with legitimate health professionals working to contain the spread of COVID-19, but to be cautious before providing information.”

Floridians need to take steps to verify that the call is from the local county health department before providing information, Moody said.

“If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you will be asked by an epidemiologist from your county health department about everyone you’ve come in contact with over the last two weeks,” Moody explained. “The epidemiologist will talk to each person and ask them about their health. But they will never ask for your Social Security number or financial information.”

Moody is asking Floridians to stay alert for signs that a call from someone claiming to be a contact tracer is a scam. Such signs include:

  • Requesting a Social Security number, bank account information or some type of payment at any point during the call
  • Asking for a birth date. Legitimate contact tracers should already know this information for the individual they are calling for and should only ask the individual to verify the information
  • Disclosing the identity of the COVID-19 positive individual who reportedly may have spread the virus. An authorized contact tracer will NEVER disclose the identity of the person who tested positive

The Florida Department of Health has prepared a fact sheet about contact tracing. To view the fact sheet, click here. 

To report contact tracing scams or any other COVID-19 related fraud, contact the Florida Attorney General’s Office by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.

Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.

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