FTC Warns of Contact Tracing Scams

FTC Warns of Contact Tracing Scams

July 6th, 2020- The state of Illinois is hoping to hire about 4,000 contact tracers in the fight against COVID-19, but the Federal Trade Commission is warning about scams related to contact tracing.

Contact tracing is kind of like being a COVID-19 detective. Contact tracing involves calling people infected with the virus to see who they have had contact with in recent days. It also means reaching out to those who may have been exposed to people with COVID-19.

The Federal Trade Commission reported scammers pretending to be coronavirus contact tracers are sending text messages to falsely warn people they’ve been exposed to someone with the virus and need to click a link to learn more. The link downloads malicious software onto a person’s smartphone, giving hackers access to private information.

Shameka Walker, an attorney for the FTC’s Division of Consumer & Business Education, said tracers should beware.

“They may ask you for payment, they may ask you for your Social Security number or your financial information, they may ask you for your immigration status, they may ask you to click on a link or download something,” Walker said. “You shouldn’t do any of those things.”

Walker said a legitimate tracer will only require certain information.

“They are going to ask you for your name and address, your health information, and possibly the names of places and people that you visited, so those are the kinds of things you should be looking for someone asking you about,” she said.

For information about the latest scams, go to www.ftc.gov/coronavirus.