Contact tracing is extremely important in the fight against Covid-19, but scammers may try to take advantage by posing as contact tracers. Below is information on who does contact tracing and what contact tracers will and will not ask you for…
I received outreach from a health department. Was it for contact tracing?
A public health staff member will call people who were diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19. A person who is positive for COVID-19 is called a ‘case.’
Across the state, our goal is that within 24 hours of receiving the positive result, trained public health staff conduct an interview with the case to obtain a list of close contacts they had while infectious. Cases are considered to be infectious beginning two days before onset of symptoms or two days before the date of the positive result if the person did not have symptoms. The cases are encouraged to utilize calendars, social media, etc. to remember where and who they were around during their infectious period.
Then contact tracers, both trained staff and volunteers, reach out to educate, inform and support those who had a known close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual through phone calls, texts, emails and mailings. Contact tracers will not use your name when reaching out to your close contacts. Your information will stay confidential.
A contact tracer may also ask:
- For verification of your date of birth, address, and any other phone numbers you may have; and
- If you have already tested positive for COVID-19 they may also ask for the date and location of where you were tested.
A contact tracer will NEVER ask you for:
- Your social security number, financial or bank account information, or personal details unrelated to your potential exposure to someone with COVID-19;
- Personal information through SMS/text message or send you to any website link asking for personal information;
- Photographs or videos of any kind;
- Passwords; or
- Money or payment.
A contact tracer will NEVER share your information with any local, state or federal law enforcement agency.
If you would like to verify if the caller does in fact work in contact tracing, call the PA Department of Health at 1-877-PA HEALTH to verify.