MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday warned the public against scammers who might be posing as contact tracers in order to extort money.
“The Department of Health advises the public to be vigilant and not entertain calls from individuals introducing themselves as members of the ‘DOH contact tracing team,’” the DOH said in an advisory.
Last month, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Central Luzon also warned against scammers telling people that they know someone who is COVID-19 positive and they need to get tested as soon as possible. They will then ask the victim for his address for the mailing of a testing kit and then ask for the payment.
“If you refuse to give them your bank card / credit card details, they threaten saying that there are penalties for not complying,” the DILG Central Luzon’s Facebook post said. “So, please be wary. And if you know any vulnerable people who would fall for this scam...alert them to it.”
The DOH said it does not have its own contact tracing team and if they receive a call from people who claim to be part of an LGU contact tracing team, they should not give out personal information.
The agency said it received reports from people who received calls from individuals “misrepresenting the Department of Health.”
“They maliciously ask for personal information and extort money in the process. The public is advised to be vigilant and not entertain these calls. Do not put your security at risk,” the DOH said.
The Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation are already investigating such reports.
The DOH said it will take appropriate legal action against the perpetrators.
It said that the public should first make sure that the person calling them have been referred by the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team. Besides not giving out personal information and ending the call, the public is also advised to take note of the number and block it.
They should also report the incident to DOH’s Call Center Hotline (632) 8651-7800 local 5003 to 5004 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.