Press Release ~ Beware of COVID-19 Contact Tracing Scams

Press Release ~ Beware of COVID-19 Contact Tracing Scams

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 18, 2020

 

For more information, contact: Micki Nozaki, SMP Project Director, 855-613-7080, mnozaki@cahealthadvocates.org

 

Beware of COVID-19 Tracing Scams

 

Irvine, CA — Scam artists are continuing to use the coronavirus outbreak to swindle Californians into giving up personal information. One of the newest scams is contact tracing scams. In these scams, fraudsters may attempt to contact you while posing as COVID-19 contact tracers. They will ask for your personal information, such as your Social Security number or banking information. Do not give it to them. This is a scam!

Contract tracing is an important tool to fight the spread of the virus. It enables local public health departments to track down people who may have come into contact with the coronavirus without being aware of doing so, and allows them to then take proper precautions. Contact tracers will ask for medical symptoms and about anyone with whom you’ve had contact. They will NOT ask for personal financial information or your Social Security number.

“These scammers use phone calls, email and texts to ask for personal information,” said Sandy Morales, SMP Volunteer Coordinator and Case Manager. “And they are ruthless. Preying on older adults at anytime is unacceptable and especially during a pandemic. Our California Senior Medicare Patrol is here to spread awareness and stop these scammers.”

If anyone asks you for your personal information and claims to be a contact tracer, hang up or do not respond. This is a scam.

Some additional COVID scams to watch for include those that:

  • Sell you fake respiratory masks, COVID-19 testing or vaccine kits, or COVID-19 cures.
  • Ask for charity donations. You can look up legitimate charities at give.org or charitynavigator.org.
  • Promise direct deposit of your stimulus check.
  • Tell you your Social Security check has been cancelled due to COVID-19 and try to get your personal information to verify.
  • Offer “relief money” to those affected by COVID-19.
  • Say a loved one has contracted COVID-19 and needs money wired for their treatment.
  • Contact you pretending to be from the WHO, CDC, or a volunteer agency.
  • Ask you to download a mobile app that tracks and sends you COVID-19 updates.

If you come across any such scams, report them to our California Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) at 1-855-613-7080.

 

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California Health Advocates is an independent non-profit organization that provides quality Medicare and related health care coverage information, education and policy advocacy. SMP volunteers are available in each county through local advocacy agencies including the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP), which provides benefits counseling and community education directly to those with Medicare and their families. For more information on CHA, SMP and HICAP, visit CHA’s website at cahealthadvocates.org.

Karen Fletcher
Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.

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