ALERT! Beware of COVID-19 contact tracing text scams, authorities warn.
Written by Kristen Schmutz
Belden Communications News.
According to a blog post found on the Federal Trade Commissions (FTC) website by Collen Tressler, a Consumer Education Specialist at the FTC, scammers have taken to posing as a COVID-19 Contact Tracer, to steal vital personal information. Contract tracing is a process of identifying those who have come in contact with a COVID-19 positive person.
Individual States Department of Health, hire contact tracers to reach out to a COVID-19 infected person’s close contacts, getting all pertinent contact information like names and phone numbers.
While Health Department officials may reach out via automated text messages, legitimate texts will only advise that a call may be received from a specific number. Tressler describes illegitimate scam texts to include a clickable link. “Don’t take the bait,” Tressler says in her blog post.
The link will download software that gives scammers access to personal and financial information. The best thing to do, according to Tressler, would be to ignore or delete these messages as soon as they are received.
Phones, wireless service providers, and call-blocking apps may allow you to also filter these kinds of messages. It is also important though to thoroughly protect your personal information by using multi-factor authentications (two or more credentials to log in) and back up your data.
While contract tracing is vital in the fight against COVID-19, scammers are known to take advantage of a difficult time. Tressler reminds consumers that a legitimate contact tracer will never ask for any kind of information like your social security, bank account, or credit card number.
For more information on the latest scams we’re seeing, and how to report them, visit www.ftc.gov.