Oregon’s Justice Department has released a statement regarding potential fake coronavirus contact tracing agents asking Oregonians for personal information that could be harmful.
Contact tracing is a crucial step in the preparation and resources needed for health officials to manage and contain the spread of a deadly disease. Providing potentially exposed citizens to the information they need could save a lot of lives, and as Oregon sees a spike in confirmed cases, it’s even more important now.
According to the DOJ, some people are collecting dangerously personal information from unsuspecting citizens through text messages, and phishing links.
“Contact tracing is an effective tool used to help stop the further spread of COVID-19. I find it to be particularly evil for scammers to be taking advantage of this essential public health tool during these difficult times,” said Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.
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In their warning, the DOJ says that Oregon’s contracted coronavirus contact tracing agents will call potentially exposed citizens, or issue a letter to their mailing address. Those agents will not use text messaging to inform or contact people.
As follow-up check-ins, citizens originally contacted by phone or letter may choose to receive further communication via email or text message, but only after initial contact.
“You will only receive emails or texts from a legitimate contact tracer if you have selected one of those contact methods,” reads the update.
Additionally, contact tracers may ask for things like your birth date, but will never ask for critical information like social service numbers, bank account information, or credit card numbers.
Official contact tracing agents will not send links, and no hyperlink associated with potentially legitimate or scam contact should be clicked.
More information regarding numerous potentially dangerous scams surrounding the coronavirus outbreak can be found on the DOJ Consumer Protection page.