Beware the fake contact tracers and coronavirus vaccines, and person-in-need-of-help scams. Here are a few pointers to protect yourself from scammers trying to take advantage of you.
The Federal Trade Commission has warned that there are bad guys out there pretending to be contact tracers to steal your identity or money. When a real contact tracer calls you, they may ask for your name and address, health information, and the names of places and people you have been in touch with. However, if they ask for money, your social security number, financial information, or immigration status, hang up fast. You should also delete any email that doesn’t simply say a contact tracer will be calling you. Contact tracers will not ask for any personal information via email.
If you think a scammer has been in touch with you, call your state health department.
Also be on the alert for scammers pitching vaccines, home test kits, cures, or treatments. The FDA has not approved test kits that can be used at home, and currently there is no vaccine or cure. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau cautions that thieves are using the coronavirus to pose as a grandchild, relative, or friend who claims to be ill or stranded in another state or country or otherwise in need. The scammers may ask you to send cash or a gift card. Before you commit to anything, reach out to friends and family to try to verify what you’ve been told.