As part of the New York City response to the COVID-19 pandemic, city workers may call you and your loved ones for legitimate reasons. They will always verify their identity at the beginning of the communication. However, in some cases, a person reaching out to you may be a scammer.The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is calling on New Yorkers to be aware of and report COVID-19-related scams and frauds. Always verify the identity of anyone who reaches out to you requesting information.
An example of a time when city workers may reach out to you for a legitimate reason:
- City workers may reach out to you if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive in order to help you isolate safely and not spread the virus to others.
- If you receive a call from ‘NYC Test & Trace’ or a number starting with ‘(212)-540’ or ‘(212)-242,’ answer it!
A Contact Tracer will NEVER ask:
- For your name. A Contact Tracer will know your name when they call.
- For payment, your social security number, your credit card number, or other financial information.
- To take control of or download software onto your phone, tablet, or computer.
If anyone claims to be a Contact Tracer and asks for any of these: hang up!
A Contact Tracer may also visit you at home, especially if they can’t reach you by phone. They will show their identification to prove they are a Contact Tracer.
For more information about the Trace program visit here.
Examples of these scams include individuals:
- Claiming to be from the Census or IRS requesting personal identifying information or payment;
- Purporting to offer COVID-19 tests, treatments or drugs and requesting personal identifying information to check for eligibility;
- From alleged charities soliciting donations relating to COVID-19 assistance;
- Claiming to be representatives from national health organizations, such as the CDC or WHO offering to help obtain COVID-19 stimulus funds;
- Sharing links or communication which appear to direct to legitimate COVID-19 news, health-related or other websites but are actually malicious and contain malware to take over your computer.
Be cautious when opening attachments from people you do not know and always keep your computer anti-virus software up to date.
Finally, be wary of investment scams involving claims that the products or services of a particular company can prevent, detect, or cure COVID-19, and that the stock (or value) of these companies will dramatically increase. Similarly, be wary of investing in companies or individuals that claim they manufacture and have available facemasks, gloves, and other PPE, or respirators. There is a substantial potential for fraud at this time and you may lose significant amounts of money if you invest in a company that makes inaccurate or unreliable claims.
If you have been a victim of a similar scam, or know someone else who has, please report this information to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office:
Or call your local N.Y.P.D. precinct.