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Senator Collins Warns of COVID-19 Contact Tracing Scam


Fort Fairfield Journal, November 4, 2020 

DISTRICT of COLUMBIA—U.S. Senator Susan Collins is warning Mainers to be on alert for criminals impersonating public health officials in an effort to gain access to their credit card information.

   This scam starts with a phone call alleging that the recipient has come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.  The message recommends that the person self-isolate and get tested.  The scammer then seeks to gain the individual’s credit card number, claiming that this information is needed to send a COVID-19 test kit.  The scammer may also insist that the individual will be penalized if they do not agree to provide this information immediately.

   This scam is the latest iteration of coronavirus-related phone, text, and email scams seeking to trick or frighten consumers into sharing personally identifiable information and financial details in exchange for a stimulus check, COVID-19 vaccine, or fake government grant.

   “As Chairman of the Aging Committee, one of my top priorities is putting a stop to scams that seek to rob Americans of their personal information and hard-earned money,” said Senator Collins.  “It is reprehensible that these criminals are looking to take advantage of this crisis for their own gain.  I urge the public to be wary of phone calls, texts, or emails from unknown sources that demand immediate action.”

   “Contact tracing is an essential part of Maine CDC’s work to limit potential spread of the virus that causes COVID-19,” said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine CDC. “But contact tracers will only ask questions specific to potential exposure and will not seek information about bank accounts, credit cards, Social Security numbers, or anything unrelated to potential virus exposure.”

   Contact tracing does not require your bank account, credit card number, immigration status, or Social Security number.