Coronavirus: Police warn of contact tracing scams in Washington

OLYMPIA, Wash. — As Washington state gears up to track the spread of the coronavirus, there’s a new warning about people posing as contact tracers.

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Public health professionals perform case investigations and contact tracing to help slow and prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as the coronavirus.

Olympia police tweeted that scammers are now posing as contact tracers to get sensitive information.

The biggest red flag is being asked for information such as credit card and Social Security numbers.

Officers say official tracers will usually call you. So if you get a text or email, be skeptical, especially if it includes a link. According to Olympia police, people should not click on links in unsolicited text messages that state they may have been exposed.

The state Department of Health said real contact tracers would never ask for Social Security numbers, marital status, immigration status or financial information.

What they will ask for includes date of birth, address, gender at birth, race and ethnicity, as well as other questions.

The DOH said information collected during interviews is used only by public health agencies and is protected in secure systems.