LEWISTON, ID — Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden addressed COVID-19 contact tracing scam during the weekly statewide Town Hall meeting with Governor Brad Little.
There are contact tracing scams going on right now preying on the vulnerable in Idaho State.
Contact tracing is when public health departments call police who have tested positive for an infectious disease and find out where they’ve been. This is so they can warn others who have been in close contact with the person to get tested or isolate.
There are hundreds of tracing programs being rolled out right now, but some are not legitimate.
Tyler Russell of the Better Business Bureau in Spokane explains how the scam works.
“Now how this scam works, you get a text message, maybe email, even a social media message from somebody that you know or somebody that you don't know,” said Russell. “What they do is they ask you to be able to click on that link and what that link could do is download malware onto your computer or onto your tablet or even onto your mobile phone. What you need to do is don't fall for that whatsoever. They can also phish information from you which is they can take your social security number, your other financial information or even your date of birth and address to be able to use that for bad means so please watch out for that.”
The Federal Trade Commission said to protect yourself, know that actual public health employees won’t ask for information like social security or bank account numbers.
The FTC recommends filtering unwanted text message by turning on two-factor authentication and updating phone software to the latest version.
Another scam to be aware of. A Lewiston resident got a call from someone posing as an Amazon representative. He told her there was a suspicious purchase on her account and wanted her to verify her account number and personal information. She knew this was a scam, hung up, and called the newsroom to help warn others in our community.
Because this happens so often, Amazon has a section on their website to walk you through recognizing suspicious emails and avoid payment scams.
Remember, Amazon will never send you an unsolicited email that asks you to provide sensitive personal information like your social security number, tax ID, bank account number, credit card information, or ID questions like you mother’s maiden name or your password. When in doubt, contact amazon.com yourself instead of answering the email or person on the other end of the line.