A phone scam that's popping up across the state involves people claiming to be contact tracers from the Maine CDC.

It's the phone call that none of us wants to get, with someone claiming to be a contact tracer for the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. They say that you might have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Scary for anyone to hear this, but especially for Maine's elderly population who are most at risk of complications from the virus. Scammers understand this fear and are preying on it.

The Maine CDC says the scam calls start out sounding okay. The caller asks for information like the person's name, address, and date of birth. But, as the call goes on, officials told WABI-TV that the scammer will ask for financial information, something the Maine CDC will never do. It's an attempt by scammers to steal your money.

Dr. Nirav Shah, of the Maine CDC, says anyone receiving one of these calls should ask the person for a call back number. If they refuse to give one, that's a red flag and the person should hang up. If they give you a number, hang up and check it on Google to make sure it's actually a Maine CDC phone number. Don't just trust the number they give you. A call from the Maine CDC will show up under that name, in the caller ID. But, as we've seen with past scams, that can be faked or 'spoofed.'

Finally, Dr. Shah says real Maine CDC contact tracers will ask for your name and date of birth. They will never, ever ask for financial information. Remember, it's never safe to give financial information to someone on the phone, but especially when you didn't initiate the call.

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