DHEC asks SC residents to respond to legitimate contact tracing calls, be wary of potential scams

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COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control officials are encouraging state residents to respond to legitimate contact tracing calls and emails from public health officials, while also being aware of scams.

“Our contact tracing team plays a critical role in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” Mike Elieff, DHEC Public Health Preparednes director said. “We encourage all South Carolinians to do their part by answering our call.” 

According to the release, contact tracing includes two components: Case investigations and contact monitoring.

DHEC has more than 700 people trained to perform case investigations across the state, as well as 230 active contact monitors.

According to the release, DHEC said there are 600 contact monitors that are trained and will be deployed as needed.

If you test positive for COVID-19, a contact tracer from DHEC will call you and will:

  • Connect you to medical care and help you find resources and support if needed.
  • Ask about places you have been and the people you have spent time with recently.
  • Make sure the information you provide is kept confidential and not shared with others. They will not ask about your immigration status nor share your information with immigration officials.
  • Call the people you recently were in close contact with and let them know they have been exposed to COVID-19. A “close contact” is someone you have been within 6 feet of for at least 15 minutes.
  • Not share your name and your personal information with any of your contacts.
  • Inform your contacts about what they need to do during the next couple of weeks to take care of themselves and others.

DHEC officials are asking South Carolinians to remain vigilant about potential scams. For example, a contact tracer will never ask for your:

  • Social Security number
  • Monday, bank account or credit card number
  • Immigration status

If you are worried about whether the caller is a DHEC official, you can verify their identity by:

  • Asking them to send you an email. The email should end with @dhec.sc.gov.
  • Calling the DHEC regional epidemiology office to confirm the caller’s name and credentials.

UPSTATE OFFICE:

200 University Ridge, Greenville, SC 29602 – Office number: 864-372-3133

MIDLANDS OFFICE:

2000 Hampton St., Columbia, SC 29204 – Office number: 888-801-1046

PEE DEE OFFICE:

1931 Industrial Park Road, Conway, SC 29526 – Office number: 843-915-8886

LOWCOUNTRY OFFICE:

4050 Bridge View Drive, Suite 600, N. Charleston, SC 29405 – Office number: 843-441-1091

According to the release, a legitimate contact tracer will never “threaten consequences for not participating or answering questions.”

“Last week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina announced the establishment of the South Carolina COVID Strike Team,” according to the release. “The team is charged with investigating and prosecuting COVID-19 related scams, hoarding, and price gouging activities.”

To report suspected fraud schemes and price gouging related to Coronavirus, call the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) via their hotline (1-866-720-5721) or email (disaster@leo.gov.).

For information on SC’s COVID Strike Team, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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