KSL INVESTIGATES

How to tell the difference between real COVID-19 contact tracers and scammers

Oct 12, 2021, 7:23 PM | Updated: Oct 13, 2021, 10:35 am

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — If a stranger called you up and began asking for personal information, you might find it alarming.

A woman in South Jordan got such a call.

The caller claimed to be doing COVID contact tracing. So, is it real or is it a scammer? And how are you supposed to know the difference?

When Mandy Brown got the call saying her son had tested positive for COVID-19, she was suspicious.

“I was pretty sure he hadn’t been tested,” she said.

Still, her son is a student athlete, so it was possible he took a test at school and did not tell her. So, Brown pressed the caller for more details, and she said the caller pressed her right back.

“They were kind of asking me for some personal information,” she said, “and I felt like it was a scam.”

Brown hung up, then, not wanting to see anyone duped by an identity thief, she decided it was time to the KSL Investigators.

COVID-19 related scams are certainly plentiful. The KSL Investigators have reported on several, and just about every consumer watchdog you can think of has sounded the alarm that identify thieves are using COVID to try and dupe people.

But, “Was it an identity thief?” KSL’s Matt Gephardt asked Trevor Warner of the Davis County Health Department.

“No, it was a legit call from the county health department,” responded Warner, who confirmed the call really did come from his agency.

Turns out, Brown’s son has the exact same name and birthday as another kid who really did test positive. The state system mistakenly conjoined the two.

Warner said the department’s contact tracers do ask for personal information, but for good reason.

“To identity and confirm that the person is who they say they are,” he said.

But there is information that the county would never request – including your bank account info, credit card numbers or your Social Security number.

“No contact tracer will ever ask you for that or your Social Security number,” said Warner. “Absolutely not. Absolutely not.”

As for Brown, she said she is glad to know that she was not called by an identify thief and that her son is COVID-free.

The Davis County Health Department said this is the first time they have ever dealt with a situation where the information of two separate people with the same name and birthdate had been merged into one.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

Americans are using their credit cards more often as the economy opens....
Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: The key to saving money on your credit card bills

More Utahns are carrying debt, but the thing is – many of those folks have no idea how much interest they are paying on their debt.
4 days ago
...
Matt Gephardt and Cindy St. Clair

AmeriGas customers nationwide Get Gephardt after waiting weeks for propane

Calls to Get Gephardt have come from across the country, all having the same problem: missing propane deliveries. So, where’s the gas?
4 days ago
(Taylorsville Police Department)...
Keira Farrimond and Daniella Rivera

Questions surround convicted rapist’s release as police investigate aggravated sexual assault

Despite admitted anger issues and a recent history of assault, Utah’s Board of Pardons and Parole released a convicted rapist back into the community last month. Now, he is charged with aggravated rape in an attack on a Taylorsville woman he communicated with while in prison.
4 days ago
Grant Clark waited for repairs on his car...
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Orem man’s auto repairs take 13 months due to parts shortage

If your car needs minor repairs, be prepared to wait. That warning comes from a Utah County man who had to wait for more than a year for his car to get fixed.
6 days ago
Susan Lee Wilson, attempting to use her phone after another outage. (KSL-TV)...
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Salt Lake woman battles phone company to fix 12-year-old landline problem

You pay for phone service, so you would expect to receive phone service. But when a Sandy woman’s landline kept going dead for more than a decade, she decided it was time to Get Gephardt.
7 days ago
A police officer walks by a crime scene trailer that is sitting outside the home of Michael Haight ...
Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera

When home isn’t safe: Experts see patterns, potential warning signs in family shootings

In Utah and on a national level, mass shootings mostly happen at home. While it’s not always possible to predict this type of violence, experts tell the KSL Investigators certain behaviors may predict future violence.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
How to tell the difference between real COVID-19 contact tracers and scammers