Health Department Warns Of Scammers Posing As Contact Tracers

Friday, May 22nd 2020, 8:38 pm

The Health Department is warning Oklahomans about scammers who are targeting those afraid of contracting COVID-19.

Officials said the thieves are conning people out of money by pretending to be contact tracers who work with the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The threat can look pretty convincing.

Currently, many of the scammers are using text messages seen in the attached photo.

Contact tracing is summed up as the investigation of where an infected person has traveled, and who they might have spread the disease to.

“If someone is found to be positive of COVID-19, then they will supply the contact tracing team with information on where they have been within the last 14 days,” said Shelley Zumwalt, Office of Management and Enterprise Services.

While you might be contacted by phone, email or social media, state employees want you to know that they’d never send a link asking for your vital information, or money.

 “No contact tracer would ever ask you for your social security number, your bank information or any personal information that you could be identified from,” said Zumwalt.

Contact tracers are not going to show up on your front doorstep either.

If you think you’ve been scammed, you need to call the Oklahoma State Health Department or the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office.

“If someone shows up at your door and says they are a contact tracer, do not talk to them,” said Zumwalt.

There are some preventative measures you can take:

•            Your phone may have an option to filter and block messages from unknown senders or spam.

•            Your wireless provider may have a tool or service that lets you block texts messages.

•            Some call-blocking apps let you block unwanted text messages.

It’s too soon to know how many people have fallen victim, but investigators say they are keeping a watchful eye.

For more information visit the health department’s website, here.