Beware of Covid-19 Scams!
As we are all aware, there is no shortage of unscrupulous people that may attempt to do us harm. During a pandemic, sadly, is when they feel emboldened to cash in on our uncertainty.
Do not let it happen to you!
“Contract Tracing” is a real thing. During this pandemic, many health departments and government agencies are hiring additional staff just to locate those who have been in physical contact with a person known to be carrying the virus. When a person tests positive for Covid-19, the agency ungently wants to know with whom they have been in contact during the previous 10 days. Getting these contacts into self-quarantine is the best way to stop clusters of infection. So, you may get a call regarding contact tracing.
Here’s what the caller will say: they will say that a patient who has tested positive for the virus was in physical contact with you recently. This means that the two of you were in the same space, such as a room. It does not necessarily mean that you actually touched each other. The virus spreads easily through the air because it is carried on water droplets such as your breathe.
Because of HIPPA privacy laws, the caller cannot give you the name of that person, so there is an air of mystery about the call. Moreover, they may ask where you have been and who lives with you, whether you live in a house or apartment, where you work, if you have been tested, etc. If the interviewer is legitimate, these are important and valid questions.
However, it it’s a scam artist, you need to protect yourself. Here’s how.
A legitimate interviewer will never ask for your social security number or any financial information. They will not ask for your date of birth or your driver’s license number. Hang up if they are asking for any personal financial information. However, even if they don't ask such questions but you suspect foul play, take down the number they are calling from (it should be on the caller id of your phone). Then call the helpful folks at Flathead City-County Health Department at 406-751-8101. If they ascertain the phone number is legitimate, you can call the number back and give them the information they need.
We are living in complicated times. We hope this helps in the event you should get such a call.