Warning: Scammers posing as COVID-19 contact tracers

Know the warning signs before you pick up the phone

Scammers are taking advantage of the pandemic. Some are posing as contact tracers --- claiming you have come in contact with someone infected with COVID-19--- but it is all a plot to trick you into giving them your personal information. Tom Stephens--- the president of the Northeast Florida office for Better Business Bureau joins us via zoom.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Scammers are posing as contact tracers and trying to trick people into giving them their credit card numbers.

They are using social media, robocalls or text messages to contact their victims, preying on your concerns about being exposed to COVID-19 to get their hands on your personal information.

“The first thing they are going to do is identify themselves by name and tell you they are from the Florida Department of Health, or from Jacksonville or Duval County, depending on where you live,” said Tom Stephens, president of the Better Business Bureau in Northeast Florida.

RELATED: State leaders warn of scam contact tracer calls

Stephens said scammers pose as authorities or officials to make themselves look legitimate.

Next, they will try to convince you that you have to make some kind of payment, likely to cover the cost of contact tracing or to pay for a test they can send you in the mail. Don’t fall for it.

While legitimate contract tracers need to obtain private information to confirm your identity before releasing medical information, they will never ask for money, Stephens said.

“They’re going to ask for your name, your address and your birthday, for sure, but they are not going to ask for your Social Security number,” he said.

Another red flag to keep in mind is if the caller names the person who might have exposed you to the virus. Contract tracers are not legally allowed to release any details that identify people’s private medical information.

Still not sure whether the person on the other end of the line is who they say they are? Tell them you’ll call them back and then contact your local health department directly to confirm someone there is really trying to reach you.

About the Author:

Jennifer, who anchors The Morning Shows and is part of the I-TEAM, loves working in her hometown of Jacksonville.