Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody issued a Consumer Alert on Monday asking Floridians to exercise caution when answering COVID-19 contact tracing calls.
To slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, state public health professionals are calling Floridians who may have come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. These calls are an extremely vital tool in the state’s effort to contain the spread of the virus, but Floridians need to take steps to verify that the call is from the local county health department before providing information.
“Unfortunately, we can’t trust the voice on the other end of the phone to always be truthful—even in the face of a deadly pandemic. I want to encourage all Floridians to engage with legitimate health professionals working to contain the spread of COVID-19, but to be cautious before providing information,” Moody said on Monday.
“If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you will be asked by an epidemiologist from your county health department about everyone you’ve come in contact with over the last two weeks. The epidemiologist will talk to each person and ask them about their health. But they will never ask for your Social Security number or financial information,” Moody added.
Moody is asking Floridians to stay alert for signs that a call from someone claiming to be a contact tracer is a scam. Such signs include:
- Requesting a Social Security number, bank account information or some type of payment at any point during the call;
- Asking for a birth date. Legitimate contact tracers should already know this information for the individual they are calling and should only ask the individual to verify the information; and
- Disclosing the identity of the COVID-19 positive individual who reportedly may have spread the virus. An authorized contact tracer will never disclose the identity of the person who tested positive.
The Florida Department of Health has prepared a fact sheet about contact tracing. To view the fact sheet, click here.