How fake contact tracers are getting away with your info

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Contact tracers are in big demand as Harris County and the city of Houston struggle to identify people who may have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

As public health officials roll out contact tracing programs to help slow the spread of the disease, scammers are using this to their advantage.

That's why the Better Business Bureau is warning people about a contact tracing scam.

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Here's how it works:

You get an unsolicited message via text, email, or social media.

The message explains that you've come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and instructs you to self-isolate and even provides a link for more information.

The BBB urges you to not click on the link provided. It can contain malware that downloads to your device.

The BBB says another version of this scam involves a robocall claiming to be part of "contact and tracing efforts."

The caller tells you that you've been exposed to someone who tested positive for coronavirus. After someone asks to speak to a representative, the "contact tracer" asks you to verify personal information.

"If you are contacted, there are legitimate [contact tracers] out there, but there are also scammers that are trying to take advantage and could steal your personal or financial information," said Leah Napoliello with the Houston Better Business Bureau.

According to the BBB's website, the call starts with questions about your full name and date of birth, but can quickly move to Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and/or financial accounts.

"Medical professionals, or one of these contact tracers, will not be asking for personal or financial information at all, so if they are asking you for that, that is a huge red flag," said Napoliello.

It's important to note, the real contact tracers will mainly ask about COVID-19 symptoms you may be experiencing, how to get tested and how to keep yourself and your loved ones from contracting the virus.

The BBB has posted several tips on other COVID-related scams on its website. Check out the full list here.

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