Protect yourself: Preventing a contact tracer scam
If you get a text message from a supposed contact tracer trying to find out if you've been exposed to COVID-19, would you know if it's real or a scam?
Testing and tracing are key to preventing the spread of coronavirus, but the Better Business Bureau warns messages seeking your personal information can be a scam.
"Certainly never share your personal information with someone that you know you have not an established contact with," says Melissa Companick, of the Better Business Bureau. "If somebody is reaching out to you in an unexpected format, you know, always question you know, why do you need that information? Why are you asking? Some people might be well prepared to answer that. So press them further. You know, well, where are you calling me from? You know, what's the name? Can I talk to a supervisor? Something like that.
But contact tracing scams are not as easy to spot as some others. A contact tracer might legitimately text you, for example. The key is to understand what a real contact tracer will and won't ask you to do.
Contact tracers may ask for your name, date of birth and whether you have symptoms. If you test positive, a tracer will ask for the names of anyone you've had close contact with.
They should never ask for money, your Social Security number or any healthy insurance account numbers. Another red flag is if they ask you to blindly click a link. They also will not give you the name of the person who may have exposed you to COVID-19 - that information is confidential.
Depending on where you live, contact tracers may reach you by phone, text, email or a letter in your mailbox.
Information by state:
Walt Kane answers viewer questions in a Facebook Q&A: