Scam Alert: Scammers Pretending to be Contact Tracers

A new scam has been reported by the WI Dept. of Justice. This one uses the guise of contact tracing to try to get personal financial information. Below are a few highlights from this DOJ news release.

Tips to identify a scammer:

  • Authorized contact tracers will not ask for money or for personal information like your Social Security, bank account, or credit card number.
  • An authorized contact tracer will not disclose the identity of the person who tested positive and is the starting place for that tracing effort.
  • A legitimate contact tracer should be able to immediately provide you with up-to-date testing locations, with addresses, phone numbers, and information about whether you need to make an appointment at a particular location and what you will need to bring to that visit.

What is Contact Tracing?

  • Contact tracing identifies people who have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Contact tracers in Wisconsin are hired by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and local health departments to track the transmission of COVID-19 in Wisconsin.
  • Contact tracers authorized to work in Wisconsin will contact a resident by telephone and identify themselves with a first and last name, and the name of the government entity they are calling from, generally DHS or a local health department.
  • Contact tracers will say they are contacting you about an urgent public health matter and would like to speak with you to provide further information and share guidance. Legitimate contact tracers will first inform you that you may have been in contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. They may then ask for information such as:
    • How you are feeling,
    • Where you went and who you’ve been in contact within the last few weeks,
    • Contact information for those you’ve been in contact with recently,
    • Your occupation and work status,
    • Contact information and contact preferences.

Scammers pretending to be contact tracers may also send a text or email messages asking residents to click a link, which are “phishing” scams that help a scammer to gain access to a person’s computer, your financial information, and/or personal information.