Montana Attorney General Tim Fox wants to warm those who have been contacted about having possibly come in contact with someone who may have COVID 19.

This process is called contact tracing. The infected individual must share some personal information to help health officials determine how many people the infected individual came into contact with recently.

“So legitimate contact tracers might call email or text or even visit your home,” said Fox. “They might ask you for your name, address health information and the names and phone numbers of people in places that you have visited. But scammers will ask for even more information. They may ask for credit card information or other payment information. It's important to know that legitimate contact tracer will not ask for any payment in any way, shape or form.”

Fox said scammers will ask for more information that what you are required to provide.

“They might ask you for your social security number or other financial information, bank account numbers, that kind of thing,” he said. “Again, that is a red flag. Because the legitimate contact tracers do not ask for any personal information like that. You should never give your birth date. Legitimate contact tracers already know this information and will and will only ask you to verify it so they will tell you what they believe your birth date is and if it's correct, you can say yes, if it's not correct, I would not answer.”

Fox said there are many other details you should never share with someone claiming to be involved in contact tracing.

“Don't share your immigration status,” he said. “If you happen to be here on a green card or otherwise, they shouldn't be asking you that information. If you get an email or a text message with a link or an attachment, about contact tracing, don't click on the link and don't open the attachment because it may be malware. It’s just another way to steal your private information from your mobile device or your computer.”

Fox encourages Montanans to turn to reputable sources for COVID-19 information, like the Montana Department of Health and Human Services.  To report contact tracing scams or any other COVID-19 related fraud, contact the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection online or call toll-free at 1-800-481-6896.


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