State warns about new COVID-19 contact tracing scam targeting New Jerseyans

State officials are warning the public about a new COVID-19 contact tracing scam targeting New Jersey residents.

News 12 Staff

May 21, 2020, 12:41 AM

Updated 1,433 days ago

Share:

State officials are warning the public about a new COVID-19 contact tracing scam targeting New Jersey residents.
The scam has been reported in all 21 counties in the state. Contact tracing is when health officials try to follow the path of the virus by interviewing people who have may have come into contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus. Officials say that legitimate contact tracers are vital to detecting how and where COVID-19 has spread.
The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness warned about the scam on Wednesday. Gov. Phil Murphy says that there is a “special place in Hell” for those who pretend to be contact tracers to steal from unsuspecting victims.
“A contract tracer will not ask for your Social Security number, your bank or credit card number or your insurance information over text or over the phone,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.
Scammers may be targeting people by pretending to be tracers in order to steal private information. Legitimate contact tracing calls will typically come from a county Health Department.
“It will begin with a call, usually. Individuals will identify themselves as part of XYZ Health Department. And that, you know, this is so-and-so individual. You might have come into contact with an individual who was a case of COVID-19,” Murphy said.
More: COVID-19 Survivor Photos
undefined

The contact tracer will assure the person they are calling that private information will be protected. The interviews are designed to gather and distribute information.
“All of these questions and all of these conversations that the contact tracer is having with the contact are steps to educate the individual, steps that are actionable so that an individual knows what to do if they become ill,” says Dr. Christina Tan.
“We want to make sure that folks are getting contacted by folks who they view as like them, in their community. As diverse as our state is,” Murphy said.
The state has put together a plan to hire at least 1,000 new, paid contact tracers. As many as 7,000 could eventually be needed. Those who are interested in a position can go to covid19.nj.gov/tracer.


More from News 12