Deputy: Callers posing as Indiana sheriff office employees, demanding people take part in contract tracing

A Chief Deputy in Southern Indiana said he is getting reports of these scams daily.

Contact tracing is used to identify individuals who have been in close contact with someone known to have the coronavirus. 

Due to the urgency of needing to notify those who may have been exposed, contact tracers will reach out via text message or phone call. 

Scammers are taking note. 

These scammers are targeting residents of Jennings County, and Chief Deputy David Turner said he is getting reports of these scams daily. The scam artists have begun to pose as the sheriff’s department demanding people take part in contact tracing.

People should be wary of anyone asking for personal information such as social security numbers, or insurance or card information, on behalf of the CDC or the health department.

“Do not give banking account information, social security numbers, or any personal information that they can steal your personal identity with,” said Turner.

And if you are skeptical, Turner says to ask for the name of the agency and the person, ” You look that number up yourself and contact that agency. 

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) posted information on the scam works on its website and tips on how to tell if the call is from a real contact tracer.      

How to tell a real contact tracer from a scam:

  • Contact tracers will ask you to confirm your identity, but not for financial information. Tracers will ask you to confirm your name, address, and date of birth. In most cases, they will already have this information on file. They will also ask about your current health, medical history, and recent travels. They will not ask for any government ID numbers or bank account details.
  • Contact tracers will identify themselves: The call should start with the tracer providing their name and identifying themself as calling from the department of health or another official team.
  • Contact tracing is normally done by phone call. Be extra wary of social media messages or texts.
  • A real contact tracer will never reveal the identity of the person who tested positive. If they provide a person’s name, you know it’s a scam.
  • Think the link may be real? Double check the URL. Scammers often buy official-looking URLs to use in their cons. Be careful that the link is really what it pretends to be. If the message alleges to come from the local government, make sure the URL ends in .gov (for the United States) or .ca (for Canada). When in doubt, perform a separate internet search for the website.

Click on the Better Business Bureau to get more tips, information on how to avoid being scammed.

RELATED: What is contact tracing, and how does it work with COVID-19?

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