Local News

State warns against scams, robocalls that have to do with COVID-19 contact tracing

Posted July 5, 2020 10:12 a.m. EDT
Updated July 5, 2020 11:15 a.m. EDT

Scammers are finding new ways to trick you out of your hard-earned money during the coronavirus. Many fraudsters are using worry and economic distress around the pandemic as a way to deceive the public.

"There's so much fear and confusion around coronavirus, this is when they are exploiting to the max," State Attorney General Josh Stein said about scammers.

Complaints of scams in North Carolina have been skyrocketing since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to North Carolina authorities.

Stein said the state is seeing numerous scams around contact-tracing. Here are some examples of what a coronavirus-related scam might look like:

  • A message or call that says you have been in contact with someone that has the coronavirus and insisting you need to give personal information or money for the contact-tracing process
  • False websites advertising jobs for people to become a contact tracer that also asks for your personal information
  • Scammers may market fake or unapproved antibody tests that will produce false results in order to obtain personal information and insurance information

"If you get contacted by your local health department because you've been exposed to the coronavirus, they will never ask you for money," Stein said.

Stein said the state has received hundreds of complaints during the pandemic, but the problem is finding the scammers.

"Our number one defense against scams is consumer education," he said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations warns that since more people are staying at home -- particularly children are home from school -- people are more vulnerable to scammers.

Stein said here are some examples of what robocallers might sound like:

  • Someone claiming to be your insurance company
  • Someone claiming to be the IRS
  • Someone impersonating your bank
  • Anyone who can impersonate an official to trick you into giving up your personal or private information

"Be skeptical," Stein said. "Do not give over your personal information. If you're confused, ask somebody you know and trust."

Stein will host an online webinar on Wednesday on how to protect yourself from robocallers and scammers during the coronavirus pandemic.

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