Beware a New Cybersecurity Scam
Officials in Pennsylvania are warning of the latest COVID-19 pandemic problem: contact tracing scams.
What is contact tracing? Contact tracing is the process of identifying people who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus so they can quarantine and monitor for symptoms.
Cybercriminals are now taking advantage of how this process works by posing as contact tracers in attempt to get personal information.
Scams often include a caller asking for someone’s Social Security number or payment for tracing services — neither of which is ever a component of a contact tracing inquiry.
Pennsylvania has a goal that within 24 hours of receiving the positive result reported into the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System, its trained public health staff will conduct an interview for a case investigation. The person with the newly confirmed COVID-19 infection is first contacted to obtain a list of close contacts they had while infectious.
Then contact tracers reach out to those close contacts to "educate, inform and offer support." After an initial phone call, the contact tracer may follow up with more calls, or may text or email.
Here are some examples of questions a contact tracer may ask:
• Verification of your date of birth, address and any other phone numbers you may have.
• If you have already tested positive for COVID-19, they may also ask for the date and location of where you were tested.
A contact tracer will NOT ask for:
• Your Social Security number, financial or bank account information, or personal details unrelated to your potential exposure to someone with COVID-19.
• Personal information through SMS/text message or send you to any website link asking for personal information.
• Photographs or videos of any kind.
• Money or a payment.
As always – never ever provide personal information, such as your social security number and backing information to anyone who you did not initiate the conversation.