SCAM Alert: Beware Of Calls From Phony COVID Contact Tracers

Bea Karnes
·2 min read

ALAMEDA COUNTY, CA — The Alameda County District Attorney's Office is warning residents about a SCAM that involves phony COVID-19 contact tracers.

In an advisory, the office said, "If the person asks you for payment or for your credit card information to conduct the contact tracing, or for a test kit, do not respond. Public Health will never charge you for contact tracing and will never ask you to pay for a test kit."

Scammers are using phone calls, email and text messages to try to defraud people. They claim to be from a public health department.

Hang up if your receive such a call, or delete a text or email.

If you feel that you've been taken by this scam, call the police to file a report. You may also report scams to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by calling 1-877-382-4357. You may also file an online report.

The FTC offers these tips to avoid coronavirus scams:

  • Learn how to tell the difference between a real contact tracer and a scammer. Legitimate tracers need health information, not money or personal financial information

  • Don’t respond to texts, emails or calls about checks from the government. Here’s what you need to know

  • Ignore offers for vaccinations and home test kits. Scammers are selling products to treat or prevent COVID-19 without proof that they work.

  • Be wary of ads for test kits. Most test kits being advertised have not been approved by the FDA, and aren’t necessarily accurate

  • Hang up on robocalls. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from low-priced health insurance to work-at-home schemes

  • Watch for emails claiming to be from the CDC or WHO. Use sites like coronavirus.gov and usa.gov/coronavirus to get the latest information. And don’t click on links from sources you don’t know

  • Do your homework when it comes to donations. Never donate in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money


This article originally appeared on the Newark Patch