Thursday, June 11, 2020
As North Carolina starts its statewide manual contact tracing program, the COVID-19 Community Team, our office wants to make sure you can identify a legitimate contact tracer from a scammer. Contact tracing helps health officials contain COVID-19 by identifying people who may have been exposed to someone with the virus and asking them to stay home.
Our office has learned that scammers are posing as COVID-19 contact tracers to steal people’s money and personal information.
Here’s how the legitimate contact tracing will work:
- Look for an initial text or email. If you are contacted, you will get an initial text from the number 45394 or email from address NC-ARIAS-NoReply@dhhs.nc.gov – these messages will be from the Community Team. You should respond to this text or email. It is safe to click on links in this text or email.
- Don’t click on links. If you receive a text or email from a source other than 45394 or NC-ARIAS-NoReply@dhhs.nc.gov, take care to avoid clicking on links. Often, scammers ask you to click on links that look legitimate, but actually infect your computer with malware.
- Answer the call. After the initial text/email, you will receive a phone call. It is important to answer the call when the Community Team reaches out. The call should be from the number of your local health department or NC OUTREACH. If you cannot be reached by email, text, or phone, the Community Team will follow up with in-person visits using personal protective equipment to ensure safety. The COVID-19 Community Team will make multiple attempts to reach out.
- Don’t give out financial information. The Community Team member who calls will never ask for bank or credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, or any other financial information. If they do ask, they are not an actual COVID-19 Community Team member.
Your information is confidential. NCDHHS explains that any information shared during the call is a private health record and is strictly confidential. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, a Community Team member will reach out to make sure you have the resources and support that you need while staying at home and to ask about anyone you have recently been near or in close contact with so they can provide the same support to those individuals. For more information, visit https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/about-covid-19/contact-tracing#what-is-the-covid-19-community-team
If you believe that you have been the victim of a scam, contact our office’s Consumer Protection Division at ncdoj.gov/file-a-complaint or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.