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Phone scam circulating, callers pose as COVID-19 contact tracers

Posted at 4:23 PM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 16:23:19-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — State and federal authorities say a phone scam is circulating where the callers pose as COVID-19 contact tracers.

Officials say the callers that pose as contact tracers try to obtain credit card or bank account information from their victims.

The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services has issued information to help avoid this scam.

County officials say if you are tested for COVID-19 and your result is positive a Chautauqua County public health nurse will contact you and if you are named a close contact, a NYS contact tracer will contact you.

"The nurse and the contact tracer will identify themselves, tell you where they work, and how they can be reached if you have questions over the course of your quarantine/isolation period," a release states.

Contact tracers will never ask for financial information, they will only request identifying information (name, address, date of birth) so they know they are discussing personal health information with only you.

Officials say a scammer may go through all the steps a normal contact tracer would, but how they differ is when the scammer asks for financial or payment information.

“Anytime you receive a call, text, or email asking you for personal or financial information, be concerned about who is calling - don’t provide your social security number; don’t provide financial information, and be cautious of texts or emails asking you to click on a link. Public health nurses and contact tracers will not ask for that information," said Christine Schuyler, Chautauqua County Public Health Director.

If you believe a scammer has contacted you report the attempt to the Federal Trade Commission here.