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Better Business Bureau warns of contact tracing scams

Posted at 1:34 PM, Jun 17, 2020

LEXINGTON, KY (LEX 18) — When people try to help others, it seems like there’s always a scammer nearby to take advantage of it.

Last month, Gov. Andy Beshear announced a contact tracing program where hundreds of people would be employed to call people and inform them if they’ve been exposed to the coronavirus.

“It would be very easy for a con artist to take advantage of this,” said Heather Clary with the Better Business Bureau of Central & Eastern Kentucky. “COVID-19 has got everybody on edge. There have been all sorts of phone scams, text scams relating way back to when the stimulus payments were coming out.”

While Clary says there haven’t been any reported cases of contact tracing scams in the state yet, the BBB wants to get ahead of them. The first thing you should know is contact tracing is normally done with a phone call.

“The con artists are most likely going to contact you via text or a social media message, through instant messenger, possibly an email. That is not how these contacts are being done,” said Clary.

A legitimate contact tracer won’t ask for a social security or other government identification number, or a Medicare or Medicaid number. Also, they won’t ask for bank account information. If asked, don’t give out these details and stop the conversation.

Additionally, a contact tracer will inform you that you’ve been in contact with someone who tested positive, but won’t say who that person is.

“So, if you do get the name told to you by one of these con artists of someone you know, you’ll know that that’s a scam,” said Clary.

If a scammer contacts you, you’re asked to report the details to the Better Business Bureau’s scamtracker website, so it can keep track of exactly where and how scams are happening.

You can learn more details about Kentucky’s contact tracing program by visiting www.govstatus.egov.com/kycovid19.