August 11, 2020
Boulder County Public Health Warns Residents about Contact Tracing Scam
Boulder County, CO - Boulder County Public Health has received multiple reports of a scam involving phone calls from people who claim to be conducting contact tracing for COVID-19. During the reported phone calls, residents have been asked to provide a credit card number to purchase a test and told they need to get tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours.
“We are disheartened to hear that this health crisis is being used to take advantage of people,” said Carol Helwig, Boulder County Public Health communicable disease program coordinator. “The purpose of contact tracing calls is to understand how COVID-19 is impacting the community and to try to find out how people have been exposed so that we can prevent the spread to others.”
Disease investigators contact residents who have tested positive for the virus to learn and provide guidance on:
- Who they have had contact with while infectious
- What their symptoms have been
- If they need support
- Demographic details, such as race/ethnicity
In contrast, when contacting someone who has not tested positive, but may have come in close contact with someone who has (e.g. contact tracing), Public Health staff provides guidance about quarantine and testing.
Boulder County Public Health staff will:
- Never ask for payment of any kind
- Never ask for a social security number
- Never ask for proof of residency
- Never require testing without discussing the individual’s exposures first
“Being open and honest with our staff is vital to slowing the spread of this virus,” said Helwig. “We don’t want these fake calls to deter residents from speaking with us. You can ask the caller who they work for. They should always say Boulder County Public Health or the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.”
Residents are encouraged to contact the Boulder County District Attorney’s Community Protection Division at 303-441-3700 if they are contacted by someone stating they are a contact tracer who asks for financial or personal non-health-related information.