Consumer Alert: Beware of contact tracing phishing scams


HONOLULU (KHON2) – As contact tracing becomes more common to track down those who may be exposed to COVID-19, scammers are using that to their advantage.

The Better Business Bureau has a warning about contact tracing text message scams.

The Hawaii Department of Health says contact tracers will most likely reach you through phone call or email. However, if you receive a text message saying you’ve been exposed to the Coronavirus, with a link, it could be a scam.

“Usually you’ll get a message that says you have been exposed to somebody who has COVID-19,” said Roseann Freitas, Better Business Bureau Hawaii Marketplace Manager. “So you’re going to get that message and that you need to verify some information. So that’s what you’re kind of looking for. The scammers they want you to click on the link or give you that information over the phone.”

Contact tracers will ask who you’ve been in contact with and who lives in your household. If the text message you receive asks for any personal information, that’s a red flag.

“They’ll want to know who you’ve been in contact with but they’re not going to want to know your deep, personal information like your social security number.”

Meanwhile, clicking on the link in the text message opens up the opportunity for your information to be compromised.

“Text messaging, any sort of thing that you have to link on that opens your phone up to malware or identity theft by giving them any source of information, you need to stop. There’s only so much for the contact tracing that they need to know.”

To learn more about contact tracing from the Department of Health, click here. To report any phishing scams, you can check out the BBB Scam Tracker.

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