MENDOCINO Co., 6/9/20 — As if the coronavirus were not devastating enough on its own, scammers are impersonating COVID-19 contact tracers to extract private personal and financial information, warns California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
In a press release sent out yesterday, A.G. Becerra said that this fraud scheme “sickens the soul” and that, “Legitimate contact tracers will never ask for personal information such as your Social Security number or financial information.”
Contact tracing helps slow the spread of the virus by identifying people in contact with infected individuals. They will only ask you about medical symptoms and people you have been in contact with.
These scammers are said to be contacting Californians via phone, email, or text. The attorney general urges any victim or target of a COVID-related scam to file a complaint at www.oag.ca.gov/report.
Here is the original press release from the California Attorney General’s Office:
Monday, June 8, 2020
Contact: (916) 210-6000, firstname.lastname@example.org
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today issued a consumer alert warning consumers about a new fraud scheme involving phony COVID-19 contact tracers. Contact tracing is an important tool to slow the spread of coronavirus. This tool helps local public health departments identify people who may have been in contact with a COVID-19 infected individual. Once informed, people can quickly take proper precautions. In this new fraud scheme, scam artists pretend to be contact tracers to trick Californians into divulging their private personal information such as Social Security numbers, financial information, or health insurance information. These scam artists are contacting Californians by phone, email, or text.
“Legitimate contact tracers will never ask for personal information such as your Social Security number or financial information. It sickens the soul that there are people out there who make it their business to scam you as most of us seek to band together to respond to the coronavirus pandemic,” said Attorney General Becerra. “I ask all Californians to be alert and protect your personal information. And if you see something, say something. We are working to track these imposters.”
To avoid falling victim to this scam, the California Department of Justice offers some tips and precautions:
- Real contact tracers will only ask you about your medical symptoms and the people you may have been in contact with.
- Real contact tracers will never ask for your Social Security number, financial or health insurance information.
- If someone claiming to be a contact tracer asks for any kind of financial information or tries to charge you money, it is a scam! Please report it.
If you believe you have been the victim or target of a scam related to COVID-19, please immediately file a complaint at www.oag.ca.gov/report .