RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Department of Health is warning residents that scammers might call them posing as COVID-19 contact tracers in order to take their money.
A news release from the department on Monday says its contact tracers will not ask for money or for a Social Security number, bank account details, credit card numbers or payment of any form. Their services are covered by tax dollars, not individual fees, the department said.
“Anything you can think of that can be a sham, will be,” said Dr. Molly O’Dell, the director of communicable disease control with the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health Districts. “I just encourage people to check with their local health department.”
The health department says legitimate contact tracers let people know when they have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19 and then educate them on what to do next and advise them about testing, quarantines and monitoring for symptoms.
When they call, your phone will identify the caller as "VDH COVID Team," the release said.
Also, contact tracers will offer to enroll Virginians in a voluntary contact monitoring platform called Sara Alert, so that they can update their local health departments as to their health status. The Sara Alert system is secure and always contacts users from the same phone number or email: 844-957-2721 or email@example.com, the release said.