Email Suzanne Email
Other
Jul 13, 2020

Watch Out For Fraudsters Posing As COVID-19 Contact Tracers

Sponsored Content provided by Suzanne Black - AARP NC Coastal Associate State Director, AARP

North Carolina law enforcement officials say cooperate only with real health departments and safeguard your sensitive data.
 
WILMINGTON -- Beware of the latest scam that fraudsters are using to take advantage of our anxieties over COVID-19. It is the “contract tracing” scam and answering these calls can be a huge mistake.

According to the AARP Bulletin, here’s how it works. “The incoming call is supposedly from the local health department. The caller sounds professional, though worried. The news is bad: You've spent time with someone who is now sick with COVID-19. Relax, the caller says, and just answer a few questions.

Answering those questions may be your civic duty, or it could be a trap. Consumer advocates say the caller either could be legitimate — or a scammer trying to steal your money or identity.”

Because the problem has invaded the state, the office of the NC Attorney General warns, “While legitimate health officials in North Carolina may call you to complete COVID-19 contact tracing, they will never ask you to provide information like bank account or Social Security numbers.
    

Attorney General Josh Stein said, “Be careful: Fraudulent communications may be in a robocall, personal call, text message or an email. Legitimate contract tracers will text you from 45394 or email you from, [email protected] 

Fraud watch experts say that your best bet if you get contacted by another number or e-mail address is to simply hang up. But the AARP Bulletin highlights that criminals have been able to scam victims by rigging a phone call to make it look as if the call is coming from another number. An app online can spoof the Internal Revenue Service, a health department or any other number.

Last month, Gov. Cooper launched a COVID-19 contact tracing program to help stop the spread of the virus. Contact tracing helps health officials contain COVID-19 by identifying people who may have been exposed to someone with the virus and asking them to stay home. However, scammers are exploiting fears about COVID-19 to try to gain access to people’s personal and financial information.

If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a contact tracer, hang up and call your health department directly to see if the call is legitimate. If you believe that you have been the victim of a scam, contact the Attorney General’s office’s Consumer Protection Division at, ncdoj.gov/file-a-complaint or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.

Readers can learn more about the latest frauds and scams targeting older adults and people in the Cape Fear Region by signing up for free AARP Watch Dog alerts at, www.aarp.org/fraud
 

Suzanne LaFollette-Black has been a gerontologist for the past 35+ years. She is the AARP NC Associate State Director of Advocacy and Community Outreach. Suzanne’s career has been in the aging network as a non-profit nursing home administrator, Area Agency on Aging Director, Executive Director of Moore County Department of Aging. Suzanne is originally from Window Rock, Arizona (Navajo Indian reservation). Suzanne has a BS in Sociology and minor in Zoology/ Music from NAU and graduate studies at USC Ethel Andrus Percy Gerontology program and MASA from University of North Texas, Denton, Texas. She served as the NCAOA (NC Association on Aging, Inc.) President from 2018-2020; Rotary; NCIOM Deaf and Hearing committee; Governor’s Highway Safety Executive Committee; and other community organizations.

Aarplogo 5262080145
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Alycephillipsnew2

Kids, Educating, Saving And Investing

Alyce Phillips - Old North State Trust LLC
Dallas headshot 300x300

Where To Start

Dallas Romanowski - Cornerstone Business Advisors
Headshot2 3182020512

Strategies For Increasing Energy Efficiency In A Home

Chris Jones - Green Dot Heating & Air

Trending News

Bitty & Beau's To Begin Franchising

Jessica Maurer - Aug 3, 2020

Cape Fear Region Braces For Isaias

Christina Haley O'Neal - Aug 3, 2020

PPD Signs New Service Agreement With Pfizer

Cece Nunn - Aug 3, 2020

BIZTALK: What To Expect From Tropical Storm Isaias

Vicky Janowski - Aug 3, 2020

In The Current Issue

Distilling A COVID-19 Necessity

Just a few months in to operat­ing their distillery in downtown Wilmington, End of Days Distillery founders Shane and Beth Faulkner found th...


2020 CEA Chamber Of Commerce Winners

As part of the Coastal Entrepreneur Awards program, area chambers of commerce also share their top business and organization picks....


Hospice Services Focuses On Pets

“These decisions require lengthy in-depth discussions with clients, something that’s often a challenge for busy veterinarians and their clie...

Book On Business

The 2020 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

2020 Leadership Accelerator: Virtual Workshops for Real Leaders
2019 Health Care Heroes
August 26, 2019 Power Breakfast: A Healthy Sale?
2019 WilmingtonBiz Expo Keynote Lunch - CEO, nCino, Pierre Naude`